Twenty-four hours after Lautaro Martínez and Argentina hoisted the Copa America at the Maracanã, Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni followed his footsteps with victory at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final. After a 1-1 draw in regulation, Italy claimed international honor with a dramatic penalty shootout against England to win its second-ever European Championship.
Of Inter’s two Azzurri representatives, Barella played the larger role. He started all but one of Italy’s seven matches, including the final. The 24-year-old was a key part in Italy’s midfield department and smoothly fit in alongside Marco Veratti and Jorginho. His individual performances weren’t vintage Barella (the effects on a lengthy and trying season made their mark) but he still showed why he won Midfielder of the Season in Serie A. Barella’s best moment came in the semifinal versus Romelu Lukaku and Belgium where he opened the scoring with a crafty finish. Bastoni on the other hand had a more peripheral role, though to no fault of his own. The ageless partnership of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci had the starting center-back spots locked down, while Francesco Acerbi was preferred in rotation thanks to his experience and greater comfort playing in a back-four. Bastoni did get the start in the 1-0 win over Wales, which proved to be his only appearance of the tournament. Expect to see more of Bastoni in an Italy jersey as Roberto Mancini eases into the post-Chiellini/Bonucci era ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Congrats Nicolo and Alessandro!