UEFA EURO 2020 Finale Preview- Will football come back home or will it go to Rome?

July 11, 2021

The World Football has been buzzing with Lionel Messi’s first International Cup win and the renovation of Argentina’s play in the Copa America 2021 but now the focus shifts to Western Europe where Wembley will host another title-deciding clash. The curtain closure to yet another glorious summer of EURO 2020 comes with an age-old promise of pomp and show as Roberto Mancini’s Italy will face Gareth Southgate’s England at 12:30 AM (IST). The prophecy of the English supporters bathing in the glory after half a century with the background score of “It’s coming home” feels too spelled out for us. It is because the leadership that led both the finalists to the final stage of the tournament has been nothing but shrewd and phenomenal.

The globalization of football has made us understand and contemplate the fact that now there is no distinct style of play. But this is where we make the mistake. The increasing globalization in the footballing community has made all the players who make their bread and butter by playing for elite European clubs adapt with a certain kind of power-play but every team has its characteristic feature. Although the origin of modern football can be said to be the South American idea of gameplay and we all owe it to the Argentine genius Marcelo Bielsa.

Marcelo Bielsa

I think you all must have been wondering how this is relevant to today’s EURO final. Well, it is one of the subplots to this whole redemption and resurgence tale, especially with the present English squad. Gareth Southgate understands the psychology of his players more than any other England manager ever did and that is one of the reasons why he fell into the role of the England manager right away. The man-management skill with this bunch of young talent that is needed to be delivered to them by Southgate had been done with a touch of class. But to explain my point vividly we are required to look at some examples here. Kalvin Phillips’s talent had been harnessed and nurtured season long by Marcelo Bielsa himself at the training grounds of Leeds United. Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, and John Stones who train under Pep Guardiola who considers his management ideas to be adopted from Marcelo Bielsa’s approach. Diego Simeone manager of Kieran Trippier at Athletico Madrid was previously coached by Bielsa at the Argentina national team and some of his methods have been derived from there. The list goes on but the uncanny coincidence prevails.

Footballing intelligence- that is what I like to call it and Italy has been the yardstick of this particular trait throughout their entire UEFA EURO 2020 campaign. This Italian side has been a statement on its own. The story of their rejuvenation and reemergence has been extraordinary. Roberto Mancini’s patient and attacking football had troubled their opponents and created menaces for them beyond repair. When Italy had not been able to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup,  Mancini took the team and changed them from shell to core and instilled within them the self-belief and patriotism with a touch of passion that has been their driving force since day one of this tournament.

The stories that are woven together in this large piece of a historically important fixture with England’s 55-year-old dry spell of International accolades and Italy’s 53-year-old struggle to reach the finals of the European Championship are just the preludes to this highly foreseeable and enthralling fixture. Some of the sub-plots that could be named are- Will Federico Chiesa follow in his father’s footsteps and help the Azzurri’s win this trophy? Will England be able to end their trophy drought? Will the Boy from Brent(Raheem Sterling) be able to make his dream come true? Will Harry Kane’s name go down in the history as the skipper who led the country back to its glory days after Sir Bobby Moore? Will the Great Nation’s wise uncle bring football back home thus redeeming himself from the mistake he committed in the 1996 Euro Quarter-final?

Will England be able to bring football back home?

Nothing but only time will tell the outcome of this finale as Wembley will be a crucial factor in all these scenarios. It’s the fortress of the English and it’s hard to beat them on that very pitch. Although this new Wembley has only a fourteen-year-old history still the job for the Mancini brigade is going to be much more difficult than expected. This year the International competitions have been more than just participating and competing- wherever we look we will find tales of bravery, resurgence, and emotional motivation and that is what has amazed me and maybe you all as well. As the moment’s inch by the tension builds up around Wembley and our hope of witnessing another nerve-wracking match reaches its brink and takes us towards anxiousness. Let’s wish that the best team wins. See you all on the other side of yet another final of the day.

Or will it go to Rome?