Barella inspires Italy to comeback victory in Euro 2024 opener

Barella inspires Italy to comeback victory in Euro 2024 opener

23 seconds into a nation’s opening Euro 2024 encounter and 60 million Italians were left in shock. Sassuolo’s Nedim Bajrami had put Albania ahead with the quickest goal in the competition’s history and Azzurri coach Luciano Spalletti had seen all his pre-match team talk left in tatters.

Step forward Nicolo Barella. The Inter midfielder, who’s very participation in this opening Group C encounter had been in doubt right up until 24 hours before kick-off, grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, turned it around on it’s head and ensured the holders would get off to a winning start.

As Italy dusted themselves down, Barella’s insatiable quest for victory inspired others around him, producing a first-half display which was the team’s best since Spalletti was installed as coach.

His decisive goal, five minutes after Inter team-mate Alessandro Bastoni had brought the Azzurri level, was just the start of a dominant display and sent a message, to anyone that needed reminding, that he is irreplaceable in this team.

105 successful passes in 89 minutes of play, 117 touches of the ball – a throwback to premium level Andrea Pirlo and when his coach asked him to help support Jorghino in the centre of midfield, Barella reminded onlookers of Gennaro Gattuso at his very best.

“I would sweat blood for this shirt” Barella confessed after the game. Now a nation will hold it’s breath and pray that the 27-year-old has come through unscathed and that he will be ready to face Spain on Thursday in Gelsenkirchen.

2024-06-16 08:08:52
#Barella #channelled #Pirlo #Gattuso #rescue #Italy

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