Football news: Italy were more composed and more determined than England in Euro 2020 final - Paul Parker
Former Manchester United and England international Paul Parker believes that the country's national side might ultimately have suffered from going ahead so early in their Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday. He also suggested that Italy's players were more determined to play for their country than England may have been.
Alessandro Bastoni of Italy and Nicolo Barella of Italy celebrate following their team's victory in the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England
The kind of intimidation that I experienced from foreign fans was a little bit different. The fans I had to face up against Galatasaray, it was noise, but there was more to it. When you’re in a hostile place and you’re outnumbered, it was never great, but the airport in Turkey was ridiculous. Anyone could have leaned over and done anything - it wasn’t safe.
But at the ground the fans didn’t affect us. I’m sure the Italian squad probably didn’t feel that intimidated. They already knew that the majority of fans in the ground would have been English, so a few thousand more without tickets wouldn’t have been a big deal.
While the game against Manchester United and Liverpool last season was abandoned, I doubt the players would have really wanted that, and it would doubtless have been the same for both sets of players last night.
They would have wanted to get it over with. They’ve done their time away with the national team and would want it over and done with as quickly as possible. The nervous side, you don’t want to have to go through that again. Mentally, few would have been able to go through it again 24 hours later, and it was always going to go ahead - UEFA are quite stubborn.
I think perhaps the strain of the game was on the English players, rather than the Italians. It was too much for us, and when we scored early, I said to myself it was maybe too early for the kind of way we play. If we had been the team to try to chase something down, it might have benefited us, but we played to Italy’s strengths as they were able to draw us in.
After watching how Italy played Spain, I think the Spanish team had a better idea of how to play against them. Gianluigi Donnarumma might have been the hero last night, but when put under pressure with the ball at his feet, he looked awful. We needed to be the team chasing down the ball and putting pressure on the other side. Spain pegged Italy onto the backfoot, and we never did that. We never gave the forward players the chance to pin the Italian backline down - it was all so far from goal. We were the counterattacking team against a side we could not break down.
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We had two shots from two hours’ play and that’s not good enough from England. People want to blame the manager, but he can only do so much. Sometimes, it’s about whether the players can do it, and whether they trust those behind them to protect the scoreline.
I also wonder if the mindset of the Italian side was just too strong. If you look at how the Italy players were throughout, they were like a club side with their enthusiasm, it was incredible. When the national anthem plays, you can tell the England players have been told to sing it. Now, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t patriotic. But the Italians, they really go at it.
If you are close to them, I’m sure it sounds awful, but when it’s from a distance, they look incredible. You sense it in the game as they play. As they go away for their country they seem to give more than they do for their clubs, but we get the opposite of that.