Jude Bellingham has become a global superstar, Italy boast a much-changed squad and Southgate has stuck with his England favourites… but what else has changed since the Euro 2020 final?
- England and Italy will meet at Wembley in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Tuesday night
- It’ll mark two years since the sides faced off in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
After five years in charge, Roberto Mancini resigned as Italy’s manager in August 2023. His greatest feat? The Euro 2020 campaign where his side beat England in the final at Wembley.
From that day to Italy’s most recent international fixture, a 4-0 victory over Malta, only three of the starting eleven remain the same.
Experienced figures in Jorginho and Marco Verratti have been dropped and promising talents such as Davide Frattesi and Giacomo Raspadori are included now.
And the key weaknesses for the new Italy side come from areas they have previously excelled in – such as the centre-backs and strikers.
Paolo Nicolato, Italy’s U21 manager, has complained about the lack of centre-forward talent coming through, having used winger Wilfred Gnonto up front in the U21 Euros.
Mail Sport takes a look at what has changed since England and Italy’s Euro 2020 final clash
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And Luciano Spalletti, who ended Napoli 33-year Scudetto drought in 2022-23, is the new manager tasked with leading Italy back to glory.
It became clear, in Italy, that their Euro 2020 success merely papered over the cracks for a national team that has been underperforming at major tournaments.
Since winning the World Cup in 2006, Italy have only won one World Cup game since and have failed to qualify for the two most recent tournaments.
In his first game as Italy manager, Spalletti failed to get over the North Macedonia hump that knocked Italy out of World Cup qualifying the year before, drawing 1-1. This is the same North Macedonia who are ranked 66th in the world by FIFA.
But since then, his side have picked up two crucial wins against Ukraine and Malta. Getting the better of Ukraine was particularly important, as they remain in pursuit of the same second qualifying spot behind England.
Both have 10 points in Group C. Italy have three to play and Ukraine have two. But their fate’s could be sealed when they meet on the final matchday of the group.
The Italian’s boast a much-changed squad after wholesale changes to their recent selections
Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham remained an unused substitute in that final at Wembley two years ago.
Since then, the 20-year-old gone on to sign for Los Blancos in a deal that could pass £113 million and has not looked back since..
Since making the move to Spain, the Birmingham City academy product has notched eight goals, and two assists, from eight league matches.
However, it’s clear that Bellingham is as passionate about his club career as he is with his international career – which he illustrated in a recent interview.
Speaking to Channel 4 after England’s victory over Ukraine in March, Bellingham said: ‘The biggest honour in football is to captain your country. There’s a long pecking order that I highly respect and I’ll wait my turn.’
Bellingham already made history as the youngest Bundesliga captain ever for Borussia Dortmund, aged 19.
England’s Jude Bellingham, now at Real Madrid, was on the bench for the Euro 2020 final
Saka, Rashford, Sancho
Not that fans will need reminding but these are the three players who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 penalty shoot-out.
The spot-kicks cast a spotlight on the trio of players, who were consequently met with plenty of backlash from supporters.
Saka was just 19-years-old at the time and, while many would have been knocked for confidence after the incident, has since been a key part in Arsenal’s progression towards title challenging.
The winger has put his penalty demons behind him and now, along with Martin Odegaard, is the usual penalty-taker for his club.
Marcus Rashford, meanwhile, had exceptional goal-scoring season in 2022-23, and notched 10 goals in 10 games after Christmas.
During that time, manager Erik Ten Hag praised him as one of the best players in Europe.
And, while he may have struggled this season, it’s clear that the forward’s capabilities have evolved immensely since then.
Then comes Jadon Sancho, who has had unfortunate luck since Euro 2020.
From inconsistent game-time, breaks from football with mental health issues and most recently, a falling out with manager Erik Ten-Haag over attitude in training – the winger has struggled to find his form since the Euro 2020 final.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka was consoled by manager Gareth Southgate after missing his penalty
One thing that can’t be ignored is Gareth Southgate’s refusal to drop Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips, neither of whom play consistently at club level but played well for England that tournament.
Meanwhile, the crop of upcoming talent in England, the U21s, got their hands on the Euros before the senior team. Whilst Italy U21, less promisingly, bowed out in the group stages.
Levi Colwill, who has asserted himself into the Chelsea first team and England senior squad ever since, could be a defender for the future.
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
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