Argentina won today the Finals, which pitted the Copa America winner against the European champion, beating Italy 3-0, a victory that was so lacking in the overwhelming superiority of the South Americans.
It is worth saying that Giorgio Chiellini, who played the last game for the ‘Azzurri squad’, deserved another farewell, for his remarkable international career, both at the service of Juventus and the national team.
Italy, which was excluded from the finals of the 2022 World Cup by North Macedonia, in the qualifying play-off, proved to be a ‘shadow’ of the team that won Euro2020 a year ago, precisely in the same stadium where they played today, defeating the host team, England, in the penalty shoot-out.
The Argentine national team, which featured Benfica central Otamendi in the ‘eleven’, took the game very seriously, which was notorious for the way the team almost always reacted to the loss of the ball, including Lionel Messi, constantly pressing the carrier, aggressiveness that the Italians were unable to counter, losing the ball with tremendous ease.
The break came with Argentina already winning 2-0, with goals from Lautaro Martinez and Di Maria, at 28 and 45+1 minutes, but the result was even flattering for the European team, considering that Argentina was always ‘owner’ of the game, setting the pace, taking initiative, recovering the ball in the first third of the field, in Italy’s first phase of construction, and creating goalscoring opportunities.
Italy was simply unable to respond to this superiority, with constant loss of the ball and without a fluidity of play that allowed them to stretch the game to the Argentine area, to the point of not having created a blatant scoring opportunity throughout the match.
On the other hand, Argentina was always comfortable in the game, creating numerous opportunities, especially in the second half, but with the Argentine players they failed to define the plays, due to clear precipitation, often exaggerating the exchanges of the ball in the area, as if wanted to enter the Italian goal inside, which explains that the third goal only came in the period of compensation, at 90+4 minutes, by Paulo Dybala, who had entered shortly before.
It was of no use to coach Roberto Mancini, who seemed in disbelief with what he saw on the pitch, to take out Chiellini, Bernardeschi and Belotti at half-time to launch Lazzari, Locattelli and Scamacca, and later Spinazzola and Bastoni, because nothing changed for the Italian selection.
It may seem paradoxical to say that the ‘squadra azzurra’ urgently needs renovation and the emergence of new values, after having been crowned European champions a year ago, but the truth is that this is the perception one gets when seeing it play, even considering some important absences such as Insigne, Chiesa and Immobile.