Euro 2024 Italy’s shooting star: “He is the best player of this European Championship”

Euro 2024 Italy’s shooting star: “He is the best player of this European Championship”

Football Italy’s shooting star

“He is the best player of this European Championship”

Status: 00:01 o’clock | Reading time: 3 minutes

Italy plunges the Croatians into the valley of tears – The scenes after the final whistle in the video

For a long time, the Croatians looked like the winners, but in the eighth minute of injury time, Italy struck with icy coldness. With his last-minute goal to make it 1:1, Zaccagni shot the Croatians into third place. They were devastated. The scenes after the final whistle are in the video.

At the last second, Italy saves itself against Croatia and makes it into the round of 16 of the European Championship. Riccardo Calafiori sets up the equalizer with a display of willpower. World champion and TV expert Christoph Kramer raves about the central defender.

Riccardo Calafiori shook off his opponents and marched towards the Croatian goal. It was the eighth minute of stoppage time, Italy were 1-0 down and had been eliminated from the European Championship. But Calafiori was not going to accept that. With his last strength, he put the ball into the left half of the penalty area. Mattia Zaccagni was there and he curled the ball into the corner to make it 1-1.

It was the last action of the game. Italy is second in group B with four points and is moving into the round of 16. Croatia is facing elimination. It was a second that decided between elimination and progress. Above all, it was Calafiori’s courageous and strong play that saved Italy from being eliminated in the group stage.

Riccardo Calafiori plays as a centre-back for Bologna FC

Which: AFP/CHRISTOPHE SIMON

The 22-year-old only played his fifth international match against Croatia, but is Italy’s defensive leader. The central defender clears up the defensive and repeatedly initiates the Italians’ attacks with clever build-up play. After the game, ZDF expert Christoph Kramer was full of praise. After ten minutes against Albania, I thought to myself: what a great player he is. He’s doing a brilliant job. He doesn’t tackle if he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t shoot a ball under the stadium roof if he doesn’t have to shoot a ball under the stadium roof,” said Kramer.

It’s a central defender’s disease that you always have to show that you’re there and kick balls away: “He has such a great feel for this game, especially with the ball he’s incredible. Whatever he plays, I never tire of saying it: he’s the best player in this European Championship.”

“The man has everything you need in modern football”

Before the European Championship, only experts had Calafiori on their radar. He still plays for Bologna FC, which finished fifth in Serie A last season. His contract in Bologna runs until 2027. After the European Championship, bigger clubs are likely to enquire about Calafiori. “If I were a top team, I would sign him blindly. The man has everything you need in modern football. It’s amazing.”

Modric misses a penalty and scores a few seconds later to make it 1-0 – The goal in video

After Frattesi handles the ball, the referee points to the penalty spot, but Modric misses. A few seconds later, the Croatian scores the 1-0. The 38-year-old is now the oldest goalscorer at a European Championship. The goal can be seen in the video.

Another top team is Arsenal FC, for which Per Mertesacker works as head of the youth academy. The other ZDF expert is also a big fan of the Italian central defender. As is Mertesacker’s father.

“After the first game, my father wrote to me saying that he was a huge fan of Calafiori. Now he wrote to me: ‘Calafiori, get him,'” Mertesacker revealed on ZDF, adding with a grin: “Now he’s definitely too expensive.”

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