As Romelu Lukaku lay inconsolable on the edge of the touchline, unfit to comprehend how his shot from two yards from the objective was interceded without a moment to spare, the Italian pair of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Spinazzola was hotly celebrating close to the side post.
Before long, Leonardo Bonucci and Giovanni de Lorenzo joined the scuffle. Their happiness was unlimited. As though one of them had scored an objective. An objective denying block that was pretty much as commendable as an objective. Or then again perhaps in excess of an objective in the specific situation.
With Belgium speeding up in quest for their equalizer, Jeremy Doku torched the left, burst infield and slipped a tasty ball to Kevin de Bruyne. He slid the ball towards Lukaku, unchained from the shackles of Chiellini on the most extraordinary of events, and needed to simply trundle the ball net-wards. He did precisely that, hitting instead of impacting the ball, yet just for Spinazzola (he was stretchered off in the 78th moment due to injury) to jump from no place and plant his thigh between the ball and Lukaku.
The entire grouping — Spinazzola sniffing the peril and snuffing out the shot without falling back on a wild tackle or pessimistic jump — was a respect to the high guarded craftsmanship that Italian football actually holds near its heart. It was anything but a last-ditch rearguard exertion, yet a masterclass on defending.Vibrant and velvet may be this Italian group, however they have neither forgotten nor taboo the spirit of their football. Their guard, actually, is their pith. Guard as cunning science or logical craftsmanship, protectors as specialists and painters, researchers and stone carvers. Those that grab the ball off the feet without upsetting the shoelaces or parting the shin-cushions. Before, Italy had wounding breeze up dealers, who were on occasion rough and recoil commendable, yet a larger part of them from the 90s to this time have been cunning individuals. Depending on knowledge, expectation and situating than seething genuineness. Every one of the negative generalizations of Italian guarded expressions – niggling and squeezing and guileful shirt pulling – are superfluous for Paolo Maldini and his genealogy of protective specialists and experts.
Some of them may look hostile. Like Chiellini, who takes after a brawler prepared for a punch-up in, a wrecked bar his nose multiple times and had his ears bit, yet they once in a while go as far as savagery. He is interminably shouting and yelling, gleeing and signaling. Strikers despise this sort of protectors, for they are consistently there, regardless of whether they are not there genuinely, similar to a shadow. They block your space and kill your resolve, they are never in flurry or rush, never ungainly or imprudent.
For Chiellini, child of a muscular specialist, it’s more science. “It’s an unobtrusive mental game, guessing what a striker might be thinking,” he had said in his personal history I, Giorgio. Be that as it may, it’s anything but something somebody is conceived, yet gained over years. Chiellini does this by watching film of his rivals a long time before the game, fathoming everything from the eccentricities to developments and inclinations.
“It assists me with shaping an association with them. I need to understand what they like most, which runs they make. It’s my method of getting on their frequency and synchronizing with them. I observe each objective a group has scored that season as well. You get a comprehension of how they play, how they score and how you could possibly figure their expectations.”
He appeared to have examined Lukaku so minutely that he was a totally fixed power. This was another recognition for the incomparable Italian guarded custom man‑marking and the capacity to win one‑on‑one difficulties, which has left style in this time of zonal stamping.
Every protector has his own job. Chiellini is the attacker. Quite possibly the most regular ball-playing base backs on, he limits out for adversaries high up the field. Bonucci is something of a protective regista, a self-blessed “warrior” dispatching assaults and shutting down the reality that the enemies take care of business, consistently in the perfect spot at the perfect second, moving prior without permitting the assailant to do what he needs.
In his duels with Kevin de Bruyne, the last frequently arose the subsequent best while a few of Italy’s pushes started with him.
However, his is a subtler art than Chiellini, and thus you could miss him in the event that you are not explicitly paying special mind to him. Spinazzola is the assaulting nerve (however he’s extraordinarily educated in the fine temperances of Italian safeguard). Di Lorenzo mixes both, and drops profound to turn into the third community back when Italy is assaulting. Indeed, even his snapshot of flaw, which brought about the spot-kick, was a human special case.
Together, they are a secure power, keeping themselves pertinent even as Italian football has shed its over-accentuation on guard. In any case, Italy’s aspirations are fuelled as much by the undertaking of their advances as by the inflexibility of their guard. That protective group, as Lukaku lay melancholy external the touchline, recounts the story.