Mancini has Italy smiling again after the team’s darkest day

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London, July 10 (BNA): Less than four years after Italian soccer’s darkest moment, Roberto Mancini has the country’s national team smiling again, said AP.
 
Tuesday’s jubilant celebration after beating Spain in a penalty shootout to reach the European Championship final was in stark contrast to the scenes in 2017 when the players slumped to the ground in disbelief after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

 And whatever happens in Sunday’s final against England at Wembley Stadium, Mancini wants his players to continue having fun.

 It is Mancini who has been the architect of Italy’s renaissance. He was appointed coach to replace Gian Piero Ventura, who was fired after the playoff loss to Sweden, and their brand of soccer couldn’t be more different.

 Mancini has turned things around by focusing on tactics and style of play. Italy’s free-flowing, attacking system is in contrast to the often turgid soccer the team played during Ventura’s tenure. And that’s exactly how Mancini wants it.
 
“Entertaining,” said Mancini, when asked for an adjective to describe his team. “And as I said earlier, I hope the guys enjoy themselves for another 90 minutes tomorrow.


 Italy’s players have been full of smiles all tournament. There has been a relaxed air in training and even before the penalty shootout against Spain, Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini was joking and laughing with Spain counterpart Jordi Alba.
 Italy’s defensive stalwarts of Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci bring a wealth of experience to blend with the Azzurri’s rich pool of young talents.
 “Everyone brings something, a different ingredient ... Then next to me there is a great chef that mixes the ingredients well,” said Chiellini, smiling at Mancini.
The coach will be hoping to serve up the Euro 2020 trophy on Sunday night.
 
AHN