A new Chiesa for a new Italy

Federico Chiesa, Fiorentina

During Italy’s 1-1 UEFA Nations League draw with Poland, one of the few distinctly positive notes for new Coach Roberto Mancini to take, was the performance of substitute Federico Chiesa, Fiorentina’s 20 year-old attacker. Son of Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Parma man Enrico, Chiesa broke into the Viola team in 2016, scoring three goals, and followed that up last term with six in 35 matches, proving himself already worthy of being a starter in a strong Serie A side. This year he is expected to continue his progress and add more…

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Manchester City agree personal terms with star defender, bid for Serie A winger rejected

Pep Guardiola is ready to take his biggest challenge so far very seriously. The new Manchester City manager has already secured the services of Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito, but he wants more. The Citizens are ready to offer £51.2 million to Juventus for Leonardo Bonucci. The Bianconeri don’t want to sell the Italy defender but City have offered him a five-year contract with £6.8 million per year wages, according to various sources, including Tuttosport (via Football-Italia). Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri, who works for beIN Sports, CNN, and La Gazzetta dello Sport,…

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Low’s Germany one step closer to emulating Euro 1996 heroes

Germany advanced to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after an enthralling 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Italy. In an evenly contested game Joachim Low’s side took the lead midway through the second half, as Mesut Ozil’s scored with a deft near post finish following some excellent build-up play between Mario Gomez and Jonas Hector. At that stage Germany were in the ascendancy, with Italy struggling to construct any meaningful attacks. Nevertheless the Azzuri did equalise in the 78th minute through Leonardo Bonucci’s calmly converted penalty, which was awarded after Jerome…

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Jerome Boateng trolled by Twitter for his handball against Italy

Ever-so reliable Germany centre-back Jerome Boateng had an unforgettable moment in the penalty shootout win over Italy in the Euro 2016 quarter-final last night. The Germans were leading the game 1-0 in the second half when the Bayern Munich defender mindlessly handled the ball in his box. Italy scored from the resulting penalty to make the score 1-1. The game was eventually decided on penalties after both teams failed to add another goal in the normal plus extra time. Fortunately for the 27-year-old, Germany prevailed in the penalties. However, the Twitter…

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Germany vs Italy – Euro 2016 Quarter-Final Preview

The standout quarter-final encounter of Euro 2016 takes place in Bordeaux as world champions Germany aim to reach the last four for the sixth major tournament in succession, although opponents Italy have thwarted them on many occasions in the past. It was the Italians who extinguished Germany’s hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil in 2006, winning a thrilling match 2-0 after extra time, and more recently it was Mario Balotelli who proved the difference in the semi-finals of Euro 2012; so although they are the underdogs, Italy…

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Antonio Conte’s tactically perfect Euro 2016 Italian job

Full of determination, discipline, energy, intelligence, passion and tactical acumen. Italy’s performance throughout their 2-0 win over Spain in the second round of Euro 2016 represented all of the qualities that the Azzuri’s manager Antonio Conte has gradually instilled in the team since taking charge in August 2014. Prior to the finals Conte was cautiously optimistic and quite reserved about Italy’s prospects of performing well, but subsequently Italy’s campaign is currently evolving as Conte suggested it might, with the manager compensating for the lack of individual talent within his squad…

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Euro 2016 – England look to end Iceland’s famous run

There were several teams during the group stage of Euro 2016 that caused a surprise by being much more competitive than anticipated, and of those, Iceland will surely rank among the highest. Written off by many a pundit in the lead up to the tournament, they went through with an unbeaten record and will now feel that they belong at this level. The dramatic win against Austria on Wednesday will go down as a definitive moment in their footballing history, and it ensured that they would face England in the…

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Italy and Spain to resume Euro Championship rivalry in last 16

For a third successive European Championships, Italy and Spain will play one another, in a repeat of the Euro 2012 final. La Roja convincingly won that encounter 4-0, to seal a second straight European Championship title, after completely outplaying the Azzuri, who will be keen to exact revenge when the two teams face one another in the second round of Euro 2016 at the Stade de France. In addition to meeting in the final of Euro 2012, which was jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, Italy and Spain played one…

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Euro 2016 players with experience at the UEFA Under-21 European Championships

Whilst the European Championships are staged every four years, taking place every second year is the Under-21 version of the tournament which many of those players among the Euro 2016 squads have experience of being involved in. The under-21 European Championship in it’s current form has existed since 1978, with the earliest appearances in the tournament by Euro 2016 players being made by Bruno Alves and Petr Cech in 2002. Since then, seven more under-21 European Championships have been held with a whole host of Euro 2016 players being called…

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Euro 2016 Group E – Belgium back on track

The manner in which Belgium began Euro 2016 in losing comfortably at the hands of Italy left them with a huge point to prove, and they responded ideally by breezing past the Republic of Ireland on Saturday. It now means that only a draw against Sweden will be enough to send them through to the knockout stages in second place. Coach Marc Wilmots had no option but to make changes to his starting line-up after that opening performance, bringing in the excellent Mousa Dembele in midfield and replacing square peg…

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Euro 2016 Group E – Belgium under scrutiny after opening loss

Given the expectation and anticipation surrounding Belgium coming into Euro 2016, their opening performance against Italy was a huge disappointment. It has led to many doubts over their credentials, so the onus will be on them to respond in positive style by defeating a Republic of Ireland side that will undoubtedly work tirelessly and attempt to frustrate them at every opportunity. Belgium saw a lot of the ball in Lyon, but clear chances were scarce in a match where the difference between the two sides was very evident. Marc Wilmot’s…

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Euro 2016 Group E – Can star-studded Belgium live up to their billing?

It has long been acknowledged that the highlight of the opening round of group fixtures is the meeting between Belgium and Italy; the team currently reaping the rewards of its golden generation against a nation that is one of the world’s most successful, but now suffering from a relative dearth of talent. It finally takes place on Monday evening, where both sides will be expected to deliver a statement of intent. Belgium are full of top quality individuals, many of whom grace the English Premier League. Second in the world…

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Euro 2016: the favourites and biggest outsiders

The start of the 2016 European Championship, on June 10 in Paris (France), is still a couple of months away. But it’s never too early to take a look at the favourites to win the tournament and the national squads that are listed as the biggest outsiders to challenge for Euro 2016. Three favourites It’s never easy to pinpoint the biggest tournament favourite to put your money on, but Germany seems to be the one team that jumps to everyone’s mind in this regard. The reigning world champions have made…

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Italian is favourite to coach Chelsea next season

As it stands, Antonio Conte is the odds-on favourite to become Chelsea’s coach next season, according to Sky Sports. The Blues have reportedly agreed a deal in principle with the current coach of Italy’s national squad and former Juventus boss. Conte’s contract with Italy expires after the 2016 European Championship and, therefore, the Italian will be free to move to Stamford Bridge, without any compensation needed to be paid to the Italian Football Federation. The news outlet also quotes Sky Italia’s Valentina Fass, who states Chelsea want to make a decision about their…

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Chelsea hand trial to former Italian international goalkeeper Marco Amelia

Chelsea have given a trial to former AC Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia as manager Jose Mourinho looks to bring in some experienced cover for the injured Thibaut Courtois, according to the Daily Telegraph. Courtois sustained a knee injury recently, and after undergoing surgery he is expected to be on the sidelines until December, leaving just Asmir Begovic and youngster Jamal Blackman to deputise in his absence. The Telegraph state that Mourinho has so far been pleased with the form of Begovic, who joined the club over the summer from Stoke…

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Ranking the kits of the FIFA top 20: Do Wales still rate above England?

rooney england

The latest round of FIFA world rankings caused another stir of controversy, with Wales rising above England for the first time ever and France dropping 17 places below Romania, it’s easy to see why it’s got people’s backs up. However, just because a country has better individual players, it by no means ensures them a higher ranking. Though FIFA’s system is flawed, and confusing, we’ve come up with a much better way of working out FIFA’s top 20, and that’s by judging them on their kits. See how we’ve ranked…

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Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez wants FIFA apology for bite ban

Former Liverpool star Luis Suarez wants FIFA to apologise to him for handing out such a lengthy ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at last summer’s World Cup, the Metro reports. The Uruguayan international was caught taking a chunk out of Chiellini’s shoulder during their final group game in Brazil and was subsequently banned for nine games and told that he would not even be allowed into the stadium to cheer on his teammates. He was then slapped with an with an eight-month ban, further extending his exile from…

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Croatia vs Italy – Match preview and team news

Euro 2016 qualifying Group H leaders Croatia will be looking to extend their lead of second-placed Italy to five points when the two sides meet in Zagreb on Friday in a game which will be played behind closed doors. Racist chanting by supporters during the win over Norway in March means that this game will be played in an empty stadium, while there were also some regrettable scenes when the two sides met in the reverse fixture in October as the game was suspended before finishing in a 1-1 draw.…

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