The backbone of Italy: reliable, inseparable and at Euro 2020,

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Italy’s qualifying for the Euro 2020 final in many ways underlined a radical change in the country’s football culture. Roberto Mancini’s team is young, lively and adventurous, designed around a stylish and technical midfielder and equipped with a bright, offensive style.

If it was this vision of Italy that carried the team to the group stage and pushed it aside first Austria and after Belgium In the qualifying rounds, the team’s semi-final victory over Spain was built on a more familiar iteration: brutal and suspiciousnot in the porcelain image of Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti, but in the unshakable concrete of Bonucci and Chiellini.

If he wants to lift the European Championship trophy, it’s Italy who must overcome England on Sunday evening: Italy, which is not only proud of its defense, but also treats it with genuine pleasure. As Bonucci said earlier, “As a defender, you always like to win 1-0.”

This has been the case for Italy for years. Chiellini made his debut for the national team in 2004; Only two years younger but maturing much later, Bonucci joined him in 2010. Between them, they have made 219 appearances for their country, now mostly together. They are so inseparable, both at the club level and internationally, that one of the searches Google suggests for them is: “Are Chiellini and Bonucci related?”

They are not, but even they admit they can be. “I think I know Bonucci better than I know my wife,” Chiellini said.

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