Italy’s backbone: dependable, inseparable and, at Euro 2020, unbeatable.

Italy’s run to the ultimate of Euro 2020 has, in some ways, highlighted a drastic shift within the nation’s soccer tradition. Roberto Mancini’s crew is younger, vibrant and adventurous, designed round a slick and technical midfield and imbued with a shiny, attacking type.

If it was that imaginative and prescient of Italy that carried the crew via the group stage and helped it sweep apart first Austria after which Belgium within the knockout rounds, the crew’s semifinal victory towards Spain was constructed on a extra acquainted iteration: ruthless and redoubtable, solid not within the porcelain picture of Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti however the unyielding concrete of Bonucci and Chiellini.

It is that Italy that England should overcome, on Sunday night, whether it is to carry the European Championship trophy: the Italy that not solely finds pleasure in its defending however treats it with real relish. As Bonucci has beforehand mentioned, “As a defender, you always like winning, 1-0.”

On 24 March 2007, @chiellini performed for Italy U21 within the first-ever official match at the brand new Wembley. Now, he's again for a closing 💙💪#VivoAzzurro #ITA #ITAENG #EURO2020

— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@azzurri) July 11, 2021

It has been that method for years for Italy, after all. Chiellini made his nationwide crew debut in 2004; Bonucci, solely two years youthful however a a lot later bloomer, joined him in 2010. Between them, they now have made 219 appearances for his or her nation, the overwhelming majority of them in tandem. They are so inseparable, at each membership and worldwide degree, that considered one of Google’s prompt searches for them is: “Are Chiellini and Bonucci related?”

They are usually not, however even they admit they might as nicely be. “I think I know Bonucci better than I know my wife,” Chiellini has mentioned.