Euro 2020: Rejuvenated Italy now getting the best out of Ciro Immobile

In Italy there has been a lot of criticism on Ciro Immobile performances with the national team, high pressure on him to perform at the Euro.

Ciro Immobile's form will be hugely important for the Italians this tournament, Image credit: Twitter

For a player whose game is based on speed and movement, Italy’s leading striker has the worst possible surname. Yet if the Azzurri are to capture their first European title since 1968, they will need the goals of Ciro Immobile to propel them there.

Immobile – the name is pronounced differently in Italian but has the same meaning as in English – is an enigma of the European club game.

There seems to be something about Ciro Immobile that somehow leaves people unconvinced, despite the Italian quite clearly being among the elite strikers in Europe. So prolific with his club Lazio that he beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski to the Golden Shoe award for the continent’s top scorer in 2019-20, but the blue shirt of his country has been like kryptonite for Immobile.

Back in April, Immobile reached 150 Serie A goals, becoming the fifth-fastest player in history to do so. Since his Lazio debut in 2016/17, only Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe have scored more goals in Europe’s top five leagues.

PEOPLE IN ITALY DON’T FANCY CIRO IMMOBILE

People aren’t entirely sold on the Naples-born striker. His spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla weren’t the best of his career, but they were far from complete failures.

Even in Italy there has been a lot of criticism of his performances with the national team, and there will be a lot of pressure on him to perform at this summer’s European Championship.

Having scored just 12 times in 45 international appearances, but has found more consistency under Mancini with six goals. Immobile has been on the end of a lot of finger pointing across Italy. The Azzurri’s setup is very different to Lazio’s. With Lazio he has more license to do more work away from the box.

Since failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, Italy have enjoyed a rejuvenation under coach Roberto Mancini that saw the Azzurri clock up a perfect qualifying campaign for this summer’s European Championship. The Italians are currently on a 26-match unbeaten run – the second longest in their history.

There is a growing optimism in the country and a feeling that they have a good blend of youth and experience in their squad. But can they get the most out of their attack to truly challenge for the title?

THE ITALIAN STRIKE FORCE

Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti seem weaker when they wear the national team jersey. They probably feel the pressure of a role that has been occupied by great strikers before them. Maybe, they have not yet overcome the trauma of failing to score in two games against Sweden [in a World Cup play-off] in November 2017.

The 31-year-old bore the brunt of criticism for failing to find the net in the World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden.

“I didn’t want to play anymore, it was too much sadness to manage and negative thoughts,” recalled Immobile.

In Serie A their performances were definitely above average. However, in view of the European Championship it will be a big problem because all the games are going to be crucial and decisive.

Italy’s hopes this summer will depend on whether the Lazio forward can manage to score at a similar rate for his country. But Roberto Mancini will have to find a way to bring the best out of the striker.

At 31, Immobile may not have many more chances to shine on the international stage, though there are no clear candidates to take his spot. Yet he is the kind of forward who can hit a hot streak and if he gets off to a flier.

After managing to get on the scoresheet on Friday against the Turks, Immobile can prove to be the difference for the Azzuri’s this summer.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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