Gianluca Zambrotta: Italy are breaking record after record
Saturday, June 19, 2021
In his latest exclusive column, 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta delights in Italy's display against Switzerland.
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Another great performance by Italy. After the good opening game against Turkey, Italy faced a slightly better equipped team, who approached the match with more courage. Switzerland did what they could, but Italy were superior both from an athletic and a technical point of view. It was a 3-0 win that certainly leaves excellent foundations for the third game against Wales, while making us even more positive about the rest of this UEFA European Championship overall.
Manuel Locatelli played an extraordinary game, also scoring twice. He is still young and has room for improvement. He's on a very positive path, developing all the time. Great things are expected of him after his match against Switzerland. Roberto Mancini will have a difficult choice to make with the return of Marco Verratti: Locatelli, Verratti, Jorginho and Nicolò Barella for three places in midfield. They are all in form. It won't be easy, but at the moment Locatelli is a player who is really producing great performances.
It will be a difficult game against Gareth Bale's Wales. Italy definitely want to win to finish the group in first place. It's true that the Azzurri can go through with two results out of three because they would finish first even with a draw, but it's important to always win because victories improve morale. They bring enthusiasm, self-esteem, everything. Victories spur you on to give more and more. However, Wales will also seek first place with a win. Bale is an extraordinary player – he is the star of the team and will do everything to bring his team success in Rome.
Italy are breaking record after record: they haven't conceded goals in many games and haven't lost in their last 29 matches. Mancini is catching Vittorio Pozzo's record of 30 unbeaten games. Not conceding is an important factor in tournaments like this. Six goals scored and zero conceded in the European Championship is certainly a great start. These are numbers that give me hope. The important thing will be to finish the group well, at the top of the standings – then, from moment to moment, game to game, we can start thinking about the next opponent.
Who has impressed me the most so far? In addition to Italy, I see Belgium are doing well with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Axel Witsel and Kevin De Bruyne. They play well, they run a lot and have a lot of quality in attack. The Netherlands have also made a great start to the European Championship. We all know France and they are the team to beat here. They are the reigning world champions with impressive talents in their squad. To be honest, they didn't impress me in the first game, but they still remain the favourites on paper. Belgium, however, are the team that have impressed me the most so far.