Former Italy boss Antonio Conte outlines England's weaknesses

Conte, who managed Inter Milan in his most recent job, explains what Italy have to do to win the Euro 2020 final against England.

England and Italy will face off in the Euro 2020 final. (Image Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020)

Former Italy boss Antonio Conte has some advice for Italy on how they can counter England’s threat in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final at Wembley. Conte has experience of working in the English top division and has won the Premier League and FA Cup during his two years in charge of Chelsea. Referring to Euro 2020, he compared the threat posed by England and Italy’s semifinal opponent Spain, underlining what the Azzurri must do to counter it. Writing in his column for Gazzetta dello Sport, Conte, who was also in charge of the Italian national side, only had good words to say about England’s attacking players. He further believes the Three Lions will pose more of a threat going forward than the Spanish side.

“Unlike Spain, who tended to pass it backwards, [England] always try to hit you in one-on-one situations,” said Conte. “Dribbling, cutting inside and overlaps… there’s not only [Raheem] Sterling but also [Bukayo] Saka, [Phil] Foden, [Jadon] Sancho, [Jack] Grealish. And then of course Harry Kane. Many praise his ability to go get the ball and link up with the team, as with the equaliser against Denmark. Of course, he is very good at that, but it is in the middle of the penalty area that he is very strong, a sniper, and I would always keep him there as a manager, because he can be devastating.”

However, Conte, who led the Azzurri to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, has also outlined what they have to do to counter the threat. The former Chelsea manager believes that if Italy can contain England’s attacking players, they could be vulnerable at the other end of the pitch. “In the middle of the park they have two very physical midfielders in [Declan] Rice and [Kalvin] Phillips, capable players who bring balance but very few vertical passes, often going for the easiest option,” he added.

“One of England’s weak spots is that, if their defence is pressed when building from the back, they aren’t as good as Spain at escaping their opponents’ press. But if you go after them with ultra-offensive pressing and they do escape, then watch out for their pace up front. Again, this is when the [Italy] players must show their experience at reading the various moments of the game.”

Sportslumo Desk

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