A lot can be said about Italian football over their recent ups and downs. After failing to qualify for World Cup 2018 Russia, it was evident that changes, big changes were needed. The Azzurri are in the midst of these changes but with a 6-0-0 start, their change in mentality and in their play are already visible on the pitch.
For starters, new head coach Roberto Mancini is a far better and more experienced coach than Gian Piero Ventura is. No disrespect to the former Italy coach, but after helping the Azzurri fall to the Sweden National Team in the World Cup Play-off, it was evident he lacked creativity and some of his squad selections were questionable to say the least.
Mancini on the other hand has brought a fresh new creative way of playing to the Italian team and it has shown in their play. Furthermore, Mancini has mixed in a good balance of some of Italy's best young talent with some experienced players who know what it takes to win.
Some of the youngsters like: Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Nicolo Zaniolo, Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Pellegrini have all had a chance to play with the National team. Specifically Sensi, Barella, Chiesa have all impressed the coach and the fans as of late, giving them a strong chance to continue playing with the big boys going forward.
Giorgio Chiellini (although injured for the foreseeable future) and Juventus F.C teammate Leonardo Bonucci not only form a dynamic defensive pairing, but they also bring experience and a desire to win, which in turn will help the younger players on the team grow into better professionals and better players.
In addition to this, the change to a 4-3-3 formation from the 4-2-4 or 4-4-2 Ventura was deploying has helped this squad immensely. The 4-3-3 certainly fits the Azzurri talents much better and helps us play some of our best players in their proper positions, where they are more comfortable and it shows.
Euro 2020 Group J
Italy with a goal differential of +15, currently sit atop Group J with a 6-0-0 record, 6 points above second place Finland who they just beat Sunday evening. But lets take a deeper look into Group J.
This group contains the previously mentioned Finland, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and last place Liechtenstein. Not necessarily top notch opponents for Italy, and generally speaking, Italy should win this group, no ifs or buts. If they were not first place in this group, it would be far more shocking than them winning the group.
Although Italy have still shown some struggles in their matches against Finland specifically, they managed to score that crucial goal and come out with the three points. That was something they were unable to do under Ventura.
The New Italy
Undoubtedly, this group favours the Italians and they should be able to win the group without any issues, but throughout their footballing history Italy have never made it easy for themselves, possibly leaving the door slightly open for Finland.
With that being said, nothing should be taken away from the work Roberto Mancini has done with this team. Just like Antonio Conte during his time with the Azzurri, Mancini has these players very well trained and most importantly, excited to play for their national team.
Surely, there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out but that will come with more matches played and the building of team chemistry. Italy's young, promising talent is on the up rise after doing well at both the U19 and U21 levels. Only a few coaches could be able to mix the youth with the experienced players and Mancini seems like just the right guy to do it.
All in all, after a promising start to their European Qualifiers, it seems like Roberto Mancini is the man that is able to bring the most out of this new look Italian team. But fans should keep their expectations in check, at least for the next little while.