Italy in the final: cool jorginho, crazy chiellini

Italy in the final: cool jorginho, crazy chiellini

Before the drama reached its fateful climax, there was a scene of amazing lightness on display in the center circle of the sacred turf from Wembley.

Normally, team captains are tense, focused, in competition mode when they line up for the coin toss before a penalty shootout at a major tournament, which decides which fan's box will host the decisive act of the match and which team will have the privilege of the first shot. But Italy's captain Giorgio Chiellini is not normal.

He is crazy, in a positive sense. He joked with his Spanish counterpart Jordi Alba, laughed, hit him on the shoulder, lifted him up like his own son. It all happened under the watchful eye and much to the amusement of German referee Felix Brych and his assistants.

The Italians had a tough time in the European Championship semifinal against Spain at Wembley Stadium in London. They could not as usual in the tournament their respectable offensive play but were inferior to Spain's possession soccer for long stretches and were lucky that the score was 1-1 after 90 and 120 minutes with goals from Federico Chiesa for Italy and alvaro Morata for Spain.

Jorginho took a bounce and converted

But just in time for the penalty shootout, the most psychologically grueling discipline in soccer – there was the wit, the joy and the Confidence in their own strength Back, by which Italy distinguishes itself at the European Championship.

Italy advance to European Championship final after penalty thrillerBesides Chiellini's glee at the coin toss, that was best seen in the final, decisive penalty kick by Jorginho Significantly. He ran up, made a bounce – and gently slid the ball into the goal for the 4:2 final score. At Chelsea FC, Jorginho always kicks his penalty kicks like this. But to take the national team to the European Championship final on Sunday in this way – that shows special coolness.

Mancini's revolution reaches its first climax

Despite this light-footed final act in what was probably the best game of the European Championship up to that point, Italy's coach Roberto Mancini used heavy words afterwards. "There are games where you have to suffer," he said. Or: "We knew it would be tough." And both were true, yes: the Italians suffered, they had a hard time to overcome, but in the end they provided Mancini's revolution – he came after the missed qualification for the 2018 World Cup into office – with their temporary climax by reaching the final.

For the Italian delegation it is clear that it should not stop there. The second European Championship title after 1968 is the goal: "We haven't achieved anything yet," said Mancini. "One more inch" the team had to go, appealed Chiellini's defensive partner Leonardo Bonucci.

European Championship goal scorers: these stars now have the best chanceThe Italians will go into the tournament showdown with tons of confidence, feeling they deserve to win the title. Victory over Spain extended their unbeaten streak to 33 games. 14 games in a row they won. They are probably the most complete, most convincing team at the European Championship. They shone in the preliminary round and in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Belgium, and they fought through in the round of 16 against Austria (2-1 after extra time) and in the semi-finals.

Team spirit fires up Italian squad

The game against Spain also showed that the team can deal with setbacks. They compensated well for the injury absence of the previously outstanding left-back Leonardo Spinazzola after his Achilles tendon rupture against Belgium with Emerson from Chelsea FC.

The Italian team spirit has an inspiring effect: "We suffer together, play together, laugh together, argue together – just like families do," said Jorginho. After his decisive penalty kick, the team did what it wants to do again in the final. They celebrated – together, of course.