In the Italy: Euro 2016 team preview, we look at Italy’s schedule and roster, as well as a prediction of how far they’ll advance in the competition and which players to keep an eye out for.
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview
Manager: Antonio Conte
Captain: Gianluigi Buffon
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview: Fixtures:
Monday, June 13
Friday, June 17
Wednesday, June 23
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview: Squad:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (PSG)
Defenders: Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Midfielders: Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Tiago Motta (PSG), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Federico Bernadeschi (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarwy (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna)
Forwards: Simone Zaza (Juventus), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Eder (Internazionale), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
Milan and Juventus players will join after Coppa Italia final
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview: Overview:
There have been lingering doubts about the Italy side coming into this competition and a spate of hugely debilitating injuries has left Conte’s plans in a mini-crisis.
One of the main strengths of this generation of Azzurri stars has been their technical ability in midfield, with Andrea Pirlo, Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio forming an exciting triumvirate at the nexus of the side. However, the manager will not be able to call upon any of this trio, with the former winding his career down in the United States and the latter duo sidelined with injuries.
It means casual observers of Italy will be able to cast eyes over a few unfamiliar faces, with Conte calling up seven uncapped players for the tournament’s training squad. Subsequently, Italy, usually so reliable in these championships, look like something of an unknown quality.
There is an old guard in place, though. Men like Buffon and Daniele De Rossi remain from the the World Cup-winning team of 2006, while the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Antonio Candreva have all performed well at major tournaments in the past.
Some fresh blood may not necessarily be a bad thing for Italy either. After all, they crashed out at the group stages of the last World Cup, looking pretty leggy in South America. Conte will be hoping Alessandro Florenzi, a rejuvenated Stephan El-Shaarawy and Lorenzo Insigne can make their mark.
With the extremely reliable Juventus setup at the back, expect the Italians to be typically well organised, tough to prise open and astute in the way they manage their matches. A refreshed edge up front could be to their benefit too, although dominating midfield battles without the likes of Marchisio and Verratti will be a struggle.
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview: Key Player:
Leonardo Bonucci – Conte will be acutely aware of the merits of the Bianconeri’s defensive structure, with Buffon between the sticks and the experience of figures likes Chiellini and Barzagli in front. But it’s the youngest member of that quartet, Bonucci, who has emerged as a star man this year.
While Chiellini and Barzagli are thoroughbred defenders, the 29-year-old offers a little more when part of a back three. Bonucci is a superb reader of the game, but his ability to carry the ball into midfield and get attacks going is also a major asset. Without Verratti, Marchisio or Pirlo, that savvy distribution and varied passing range will be so important.
Buffon set a new record this season in Serie A, going 973 minutes without letting in a goal. While that’s testament to his evergreen status, it also says plenty about the men protecting him. Bonucci has been at the crux of that organization at club level, now he must do the same with the national side.
Italy: Euro 2016 team preview: Verdict:
Second Round – The draw could have been kinder to Italy, with no gimmes in the three opponents they’ll face. Conte is a good enough coach and has enough talent to steer his side through the group stages, although if they run into Portgual in the first knockout match it’s tough to see this team, robbed of some important components, progressing much further.
Italy home jersey
2012 runners-up, Italy has one European championship, finishing top in 1968. The 2016 home jersey continues the classic blue always worn by the Azzurri. It is engineered with Puma’s DryCell technology for moisture management and is 100% polyester. Not surprisingly, out of all of the Euro 2016 jerseys, the Italy shirt is a classic Azzurri design.
Find out how to order the Italy home jersey today.
Euro 2016 team previews
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• England team preview
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• Iceland team preview
• Italy team preview
• Northern Ireland team preview
• Poland team preview
• Portugal team preview
• Republic of Ireland team preview
• Romania team preview
• Russia team preview
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• Switzerland team preview
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