Italy
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Is Italy On The Verge Of An International Football Dynasty?

Italy had an exciting and well-deserved triumph in Euro 2020. The Azzurri impressed during the group stage and left many to assume they would have a tournament to remember. They had talent all over the pitch, from an excellent goalkeeper, an experienced defense, upbeat midfield, and dynamic attack. Everywhere you looked there was quality oozing. Not that long ago, the world watched a dynasty take place in international football. The Spanish National Team won consecutive Euro tournaments in 2008 and 2012 with a World Cup Title in between during 2010. After a thrilling tournament this summer, it must be asked: Is Italy about to embark on a dynasty of their own?

The Case For An Italian Golden Age

For starters, there seems to be no shortage of talent for the Azzurri. They had tournament standouts in net, across the backline, in the midfield, and attack. Euro 2020’s Player Of The Tournament, Goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma, is only 22 years old. Electric winger Federico Chiesa is 23. Manuel Locatelli was one of the heartbeats in the engine room and he turns 24 in January. This trio will be essential to Italy’s success for the better part of a decade and they’re both not even close to their prime. Furthermore, established names like Jorginho, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne, and a fully healthy Leandro Spinazzola will help make Italy a popular favorite in Qatar next year.

The name to focus on in my opinion is Chiesa. He was seen as one of Juventus’ best players behind Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2020/2021 season but has taken his game to a whole new level this summer. After an exceptional tournament including a superb goal against Spain in the semi-final, Europe’s elite are hoping to get ahold of the young star.

The Case Against An Italian Golden Age

There are stars in many positions but this Italian team triumphed on incredible leadership as well. The Azzurri’s legendary partnership in central defense appears to be nearing the end. Giorgio Chiellini is 36 while Leonardo Bonucci turned 34 in May. In terms of talent alone Roberto Mancini would have a tough time replacing them. However, they provide much more than just elite defending. Both of their voices carry serious weight in the Italian locker room, and it remains to be seen who would step up once they hang up the boots. Donnarumma is arguably the best player in all of Italy but he’s still incredibly young. Older players must feel like they deserve a shot at the captaincy as well. Chances are the duo will still be around for Qatar in 2022, but their inevitable departure will make it more difficult for the Azzurri to have sustained success and trophies.

Short Answer: Maybe

The Italian National team could have a special run ahead of them. That is if proper replacements for Bonucci and Chiellini could be found in the not-so-distant future. Outside of the question mark in central defense, they have incredible talent at multiple positions. There are no worries about their ability to score goals, especially with world-class striker Ciro Immobile still in the fold and not even used much at the Euros. The sky might as well be the limit. As long as Gianluigi Donnarumma remains Gianluigi Donnarumma, it’s a great time to be an Azzurri fan.