Italy haven’t lost a game since 2018 – just let that sink in.
Roberto Mancini’s appointment as head coach has signalled a rebirth for the Azzurri after their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup had sent shockwaves through the football-mad nation.
Assuming they avoid defeat in their two pre-tournament qualifiers against San Marino and Czech Republic, Italy will head into Euro 2020’s opening game boasting an undefeated streak stretching back 27 games.
This alone should be enough to convince Dream Team Euros gaffers that their players are worth backing – but which ones exactly?
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Gianluigi Donnarumma is the joint-most expensive keeper in Dream Team Euros at £4.0m – but with good reason.
Still just 22 years old, the highly-rated shot-stopper is expected to leave Milan this summer and a strong showing for Italy may earn Mino Raiola an evener fat cheque than anticipated.
Donnarumma has been handed a relatively favourable group and will fancy his chances of keeping his sheets clean against Turkey, Wales and Switzerland.
Italy conceded just four goals in their qualifying campaign – a defensive record only bettered by Belgium.
Such a statistic may encourage Dream Team Euros gaffers to combine Donnarumma with a defender or two.
Leonardo Bonucci is the most high-profile candidate but he’ll set you back a further £4.0m.
If you’re looking for a Moneyball-style pick then Emerson Palmieri might be worth a punt.
The 26-year-old has only played 89 minutes of league football for Chelsea this season but he’s favoured by Mancini and has been a regular starter for Italy in recent times.
At £2.5m he would be extraordinarily cheap if he does start against Turkey in the tournament’s curtain-opener – keep an eye on their pre-tournament friendlies for further clues!
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In terms of pure talent, Italy’s midfield collective is among the very best the tournament has to offer: Jorginho, Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti, Manuel Locatelli… the list goes on.
However, experienced Dream Team bosses will know that there’s no value in picking brilliant defensive midfielders as attack-minded individuals are generally more successful.
With that in mind, Federico Chiesa is probably the best option among his peers.
The second-generation superstar has been brilliant for Juventus this season in an otherwise underwhelming campaign for the Old Lady, scoring 15 goals and providing ten assists in all competitions.
His attacking output is the reason he’s the most-expensive Italian midfielder at £4.0m – putting him alongside the likes of Eden Hazard and Phil Foden – but that could be budget well invested if carries his club form into Euro 2020.
Up front, Ciro Immobile is the premier option at £5.0m.
Such is the former Golden Shoe winner’s pedigree, we recently wrote a whole separate profile on him with plenty of details.
In short, he’s scored 150 goals in 218 games since joining Lazio and has established himself as one of Europe’s most-prolific strikers.
If Immobile doesn’t float your boat then Lorenzo Insigne is slightly cheaper (£4.0m) and has just completed his best ever Serie A season in front of goal having bagged 19 goals for Napoli.
In fact, Mancini is spoiled for choice when it comes to striking firepower as Torino’s Andrea Belotti (£4.0m) and Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi (£3.5m) scored 30 league goals between too.
Dream Team Euros bosses need guaranteed starters and should therefore limit their perusal to Immobile and Insigne.
A self-respecting Dream Team Euros XI could have as many as four Italians come June 11th when they open proceedings against Turkey.
if you want an indication of how that game might play out, bear in mind that Italy have won their last five games 2-0…