Italy have been celebrating their UEFA Euro 2020 success over the past few days as England goes through a period of soul searching and national mourning after last Sunday’s penalty shootout drama at Wembley Stadium.
Roberto Mancini’s men returned home as heroes after their 1-1 draw in London and 3-2 triumph from the spot and there is now hope that the current crop of players can carry this momentum into the 2022 FIFA World Cup while there is an opportunity for the domestic game to benefit too.
Serie A players dominated Euro 2020
No league performed as well as Serie A this summer with 37 goals scored by players who ply their trade in Italian soccer. When Serie A Atalanta in particular had a clutch of star performers such as Denmark’s Joakim Maehle and the Azzurri’s Matteo Pessina.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and Portugal finished level with Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick on five goals for the tournament despite a round of 16 exit while Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku scored four with quarterfinalists Belgium and Juve’s Alvaro Morata added three in Spain’s semifinal run.
Ronaldo and Morata’s Turin-based teammate Federico Chiesa also enjoyed something of a breakout tournament as he scored goals against Austria and Spain while penalty hero Gianluigi Donnarumma departs AC Milan on a high to join star midfielder Marco Verratti at Paris Saint-Germain.
With so much talent performing well this summer and Italy celebrating their second continental crown and first since 1968, Mancini and his players have sparked a feel good mood around Serie A that must be capitalized upon.
You can catch all of Serie A starting this August on Paramount+ and the period could coincide with another golden era for the Italian domestic game as the likes of France’s Ligue 1 and Spain’s La Liga struggle under the economic impact of the coronavirus.
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Serie A poised for an exciting 2021-22 campaign
The coming campaign has no shortage of interesting storylines coming into it with Inter Milan’s ability to defend their title under Simone Inzaghi one of the main questions after losing boss Antonio Conte and Achraf Hakimi over the summer due to financial difficulties.
AC Milan will be back in the UEFA Champions League, also exclusively on Paramount+, and they will aim to overhaul their neighbors with evergreen talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic still very much key as he turns 40.
Atalanta’s impressive rise continues and after a strong Euro 2020 from a number of players and the arrival of Juan Musso in goal, there is a feeling that they could get even closer to an improbable Serie A title this coming term.
Then there are deposed giants Juve who have Massimiliano Allegri back on the bench after Andrea Pirlo’s failed spell in charge and the burning question of Ronaldo’s future at Juventus Stadium with few realistic takers in the current economic climate.
SSC Napoli, SS Lazio and AS Roma will all be extremely interesting with experienced new coaches in place with Luciano Spalletti, Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho all returning to the Italian game after a period away.
There are also a number of American-owned clubs to keep an eye on with Fiorentina looking to bounce back under Vincenzo Italiano after a disappointing season and the Gennaro Gattuso farce, Spezia looking to the future under ex-player Thiago Motta and Paolo Zanetti’s stylish Venezia side.
Combine all of that and the ingredients are there for Serie A to take on added importance over the course of the next campaign or so after Italy provided the proof that one of European soccer’s oldest giants is still producing winning teams.
If Mancini and his men can extend their current unbeaten run of 34 matches, or better it with the current record at 35, deep Champions League runs from Inter, Milan, Atalanta and Juve will arguably be all that is missing to point to growing power of calcio.