Yesterday was a journey that England hoped would bring home the magic.
The Italians came to Wembley and just like England they looked like they had the tournament under control up to the last game to get them into the final.
In games like this an early goal can make a big difference, especially when you sit back and wait. There was a moment when they kept waiting and you could see how much patience the team needed to possess. The only thing England could do to get out of this was hoping for Harry Kane to be able to hold the ball up and for Sterling to find a way through.
This tactic was one that would have worked if Italy was playing a more classic way of waiting to see if England make a mistake and then punish them. This ended up being the other way around because the Italians have a lot of creativity in Chiesa and Insigne, with a midfield that will always be hard to stop because if you block Jorginho then Verratti gets on the ball to supply the front.
You could just see how England were running the clock down and hoping to win the game 1-0, but things changed when the Italians scored. England had to open up, and the change came back when Chiesa came off the field, because he had been the outlet for the Italian counterattack. England tried to win the game in extra time to avoid penalties, but when they saw this was the likely outcome they brought on the guys that had the confidence to take penalties. But this is always going to be a game of roulette.
You will have the players on the team that are confident to take a penalty, some that don’t want to take it at all and some, like me as a fan now, that might never get into that position to take one. We all think it’s easy because it’s only 11 meters but I can tell you it is not as easy, as we saw yesterday. We saw that clearly with Jorginho who is one of the most confident penalty takers you will see, as his was saved by Pickford.
The best thing to tell the young boys is that I hope they don’t get treated as weak, but as the brave ones because they are the ones stepped up to take the penalties with so much pressure. There has to be a winner and the Italians did it. If you ask me did both teams deserve to be in the final, the answer is yes they did. They both work hard to get there and Italy went away with the prize.
As a Dutch guy I have watched this tournament really closely and have seen all teams in action, and the Italians were worthy winners. Congrats to Viali the man that brought me to Chelsea and the person that treated me like any pro would love to be treated. Every time I see him I will walk up to him no matter where because he made me feel so welcome at Chelsea.
Thank you coach and congrats. #mmlove