DANNY MURPHY: England can beat Italy if they harass Giorgio Chiellini, disrupt the midfield conductor Jorginho and use their pace to run them ragged!
- England must be aware of balls over to both Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile
- They must also stop Chiesa from exposing them on the flank with his speed
- Mason Mount must win the most important match-up against Chelsea’s Jorginho
- While Harry Kane must overcome both Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Danny Murphy was at Wembley to see Italy beat Spain on penalties to book a place in the final of Euro 2020 against England.
Now they turn their attention to Sunday’s all-important that could change alter the path of English football.
Here Murphy looks at what Gareth Southgate’s England men can expect, and the key duels…
Danny Murphy looks at what Gareth Southgate’s England men can expect, and the key duels
Italy set up 4-3-3, just like England. If both sides stick to their usual gameplan, it means Sunday’s final could be settled by who wins their individual battles rather than a tactical battle being key.
Watching the Italy-Spain semi-final, I’m of the opinion that England are better suited to facing the Italians. The way they play is more what our players face in the Premier League every week, they pick their moments when to press high and go high tempo, and when to sit back.
The Spanish side are a possession team, technically superior, and the way they would have tried to tire England out by keeping the ball would have required an enormous amount of patience, and fitness, from Gareth Southgate’s team.
Italy are a very good side of course but England will feel more comfortable facing them, it’s a more familiar style. They will play a lot of balls over the top for their runners Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile to get in.
Sunday’s final could be settled by who wins their individual battles rather than a tactical battle
MOUNT THE MAN TO STOP HIS PAL
The most important match-up on the pitch might be between two team-mates, Jorginho and Mason Mount, who have just won the Champions League together at Chelsea.
You can never rule out Southgate springing a selection surprise but it’s likely Mount will be given the job of stopping Jorginho dictating play, which Spain did really well on Tuesday night which is why they dominated the game and can consider themselves unlucky to go out.
The most important match-up on the pitch might be between Jorginho and Mason Mount
Jorginho has had wonderful season from Chelsea and is one of the cleverest footballers at the Euros. It is a big responsibility to whichever England player is entrusted to try and stop him because if he is allowed to dictate in his own style, Italy will control the game.
Spain had a plan for Dani Olmo to combat Jorginho when the Italian was deep and Pedri would look after him if he went further forward. With Koke doing a man-to-man job on Marco Verratti, Italy were nothing like as effective as they’d been earlier in the tournament.
I think Kalvin Phillips could be asked to snuff out Verratti who is a wonderful player when he gets into his stride and Mount will restrict Jorginho while retaining his own attacking play. Sometimes it’s harder for a player to be marked by someone who knows their game so well, and I bet Jorginho was praying to face Denmark in the final rather than have to come up against Mount.
The England star must stop Jorginho from dictating play for Italy during the Euro 2020 final
EXPLOIT THE SPACE LEFT BY EMERSON
Elsewhere, the battle between Harry Kane and the two Italian old boys Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci is huge and how they cope when Kane drops deep to get on the ball because they want to get tight, Dani Olmo caused them problems in the semi-final with his movement.
As important is the left-back Emerson who has had to come in for Leonardo Spinazzola, arguably Italy’s player of the tournament.
I noticed against Spain that Emerson was trying to emulate Spinazzola’s runs and give them a forward option but it does leave space in behind him and to the left of Chiellini.
I think it’s an area England should try to exploit which is why Bukayo Saka might retain his place because of his speed and direct running. With Kyle Walker overlapping as well, it could give Italy major problems.
England must exploit the space in behind Emerson to be successful on Sunday evening
SHAW FACES CHIESA TEST
Likewise, Italy may try to expose England’s left flank. Watching Federico Chiesa live gives you an appreciation of how lightning quick he is. When he makes runs in behind, he really goes and this could be the toughest challenge of the tournament for Luke Shaw, who has been excellent.
Chiesa is always looking to run at people and get shots off and as soon as Italy win possession they will look to hit the long ball over the top. We’ve seen Chiesa twice score invaluable goals at the Euros so his confidence is sky high at the moment..
Luke Shaw must deal with Federico Chiesa’s lightning quick pace during the Euro 2020 final
When he makes runs in behind, he really goes and this could be the toughest challenge of the tournament for Luke Shaw, who has been excellent
Italy’s game against Spain was sapping but I think they will get up for the final. They were struggling physically in the second half of normal time against Spain because they were chasing so much but Roberto Mancini has a very strong bench and he was able to change a couple of midfielders and his forward line to freshen them up for extra-time which helped them hugely.
Italy have had two hard games against Belgium and Spain but England’s semi-final with Denmark was also emotionally draining and took place 24 hours later so I don’t think any team has an advantage n that score.
OVER-CELEBRATE THE CREATIVE PART OF THE GAME
Southgate hasn’t picked an unchanged team in this tournament yet but it’s very possible he will do this time. The only question-marks are over Mount, if he changes the system, or Saka because he has so many options on that right side but both are such talented and hard-working players, I wouldn’t be surprised if England stick with the same XI that started against Denmark.
Moving to five at the back worked to cancel out Germany’s formation but I don’t think doing the same against Italy, who play four at the back, would send out the right message. Likewise, I wouldn’t be alarmed if Jordan Henderson started but the role of bringing him on as the game gets towards the business end has worked well so far.
The Italians have become feted for their exuberant celebrations when defending. I must admit, I don’t really get it. If a defender sprints 50 yards to make a goal-saving tackle, fair enough, but it’s a bit melodramatic to have a hug or high five for every block.
The Italians may dream of being a great defender as a young lad but it’s not for me. I’d rather over-celebrate the creative part of the game!
Southgate hasn’t picked an unchanged team in this tournament yet but it’s possible he will do
Alvaro Morata described playing against Giorgio Chiellini as like ‘being in a cage with a gorilla and you have to steal his food’ but the Italian is not the most comfortable on the ball.
England’s front three should look to copy Spain’s tactic of cutting off Gianluigi Donnarumma’s passing options, which forced him to go short to Chiellini or attempt a risky pass to Emerson.
Italy were forced into playing more long passes than usual while Chiellini and Bonucci, as well as Donnarumma, had their poorest pass accuracy in a major tournament game.
Harry Maguire has won 16 of his 18 aerial duels and will be happy to head any long balls clear.
Alvaro Morata described playing against Giorgio Chiellini as like ‘being in a cage with a gorilla’
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