Euro 2020: Geoff Hurst tells fans to ‘respect’ Italian anthem
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Italy have completely turned around their fortunes over the past few years, and it’s largely thanks to former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. The Italians have a stunning record across all competitions, and are now just one game away from their first major trophy since 2006.
The Azzurri reached the final of Euro 2020 on Tuesday, after beating Spain on penalties in the semi-finals.
They had previously beaten Belgium 2-1 in the quarter-finals, and Austria 2-1 in the Round of 16.
Italy came through Group A untroubled, winning all three matches, and not conceding a single goal along the way.
The group was hotly anticipated to be quite open, with both Turkey and Switzerland in very good form going into the competition.
Italy’s stunning recent form
The Italians went into Euro 2020 with the best form of any other nation.
They’re now on a 33-game unbeaten run, include 28 wins and five draws.
The last time they lost a game was in September 2018 – a 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the Nations League.
It was Mancini’s second defeat as Italy manager – but they’ve gone from strength to strength ever since.
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Mancini has been widely praised for his mixture of pragmatism and attacking flair at Italy.
He was appointed as the new manager of Italy in May 2018, and he faced an extremely difficult job.
The Azzurri had just failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and icons Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli had all just retired from international football.
But the former City boss has completely turned around the country’s fortunes.
Italy vs England – head-to-head
Italy have a very good record against England in major tournaments, which bodes well for Sunday’s final.
England have only ever beaten Italy once in eight competitive meetings.
The Three Lions won 2-0 at Wembley in 1977, which was part of the qualifying campaign for the 1978 World Cup.
Since then, Italy have avoided defeat on all competitive occasions, including the most recent win at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Italians beat England 2-1 in the opening fixture of the tournament, although they were both eliminated in the group stages anyway.
Their most recent European Championship duel came in 2012 – a largely dull affair.
The match ended in a 0-0 draw after extra time, and was eventually settled on penalties.
Italy won 4-3 in the shootout, condemning England to a quarter-final exit of Euro 2012.
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