Italy stand between Spain and the Euro 2020 final, and Marco Verratti is likely to pose a serious threat to Luis Enrique‘s side’s chances of progressing beyond the semi-finals.
Despite having missed the first two games of Euro 2021, Verratti has created more chances at this summer’s tournament than anyone other than Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne. Twelve Italian chances have been created by the Paris Saint-Germain star, with De Bruyne creating 13 before his side were eliminated by Verratti and his Italy teammates on Friday.
An Italian symbol who has never played in Serie A
From Abruzzo, Verratti has curiously never kicked a ball in Serie A. Having shone for an exciting Pescara side in 2011/12 in Serie B alongside Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile, PSG swooped in and lured him away from Italy. In France, he has continued his growth into one of the world’s very best midfielders.
In his tournament debut against Wales, he provided the assist for Matteo Pessina‘s goal in a 1-0 win, and that was enough for him to hold onto his place in the XI for the first knockout round match against Austria, despite Manuel Locatelli having done excellently while he was still unavailable against Turkey and Switzerland.
Brilliance against Belgium
Before the quarter-final in Munich, there was a lot of talk in Italy around who would start between Verratti and Locatelli, or even Pessina. But the PSG midfielder earned his place beside Jorginho and Nicolo Barella and he didn’t disappoint.
Verratti put on an exhibition and assisted Barella‘s opening goal, setting the Azzurri on their way to a 2-1 win.
There’s no doubting that Verratti will be in the XI on Tuesday evening at Wembley as Roberto Mancini looks to take his side all the way this summer, and Luis Enrique‘s La Roja are going to have a lot to think about against one of Europe’s best midfields.