Never write off the Azzurri! | EURO 2016

If no-one was talking about the Italian’s before, we bet your bottom dollar they are now.

It’s fair to say that pundits didn’t really see Italy as a threat leading up to Euro 2016. Let alone did they think they had a chance to beat the worlds second highest ranked team.

Italy have convincingly defeated Belgium 2-0, with goals to Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle. What’s even more crazy is that both strikers play out of the Premier League! What makes it even more unbelievable is that these players play for Southampton and Sunderland.

There is no doubt that the Italian’s had the experience in defence with goalkeeper Buffon and centre back Chiellini leading the charge.

The uncertainty lay in the Italian attacking half, where it was unknown who would step up to provide the firepower for the Italians.

It all started with the brains of the operation Leonardo Bonucci, who played a standout match in centre back. Well known for his excellent ball distribution, Bonucci played a looping ball to find Giaccherini in the box. In two movements, Giaccherini had touched the ball down to feet and slotted it past Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Despite Belgium’s long list of talent, recent times have shown their incapability to transform that into a dominant ‘team’.

This is a new and improved Azzurri- one that is playing with with a lot more energy and flare, compared to one that may have been a little more structured in the past. Playing three centre backs and a high press paid off, as The Red Devils struggled to handle the pressure.

Italy’s second goal came in the dying minutes, as Graziano Pelle scored an absolute stunner to put the Italian’s in first place in group E.

Ari Charilaou