Italy go all out for Euros squad announcement

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June 2, 2021
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    Italy's Euro 2020 squadItaly are currently unbeaten in 26 games, a run stretching back to September 2018

    Italy took their Euro 2020 squad announcement to a whole new level with a two-hour television show dedicated to Roberto Mancini's unveiling of his 26-man squad for this summer's tournament.

    Sassuolo's uncapped forward Giacomo Raspadori was a surprise call-up, but the list of names was far from being the most eye-catching part of the night.

    From playing padel with frying pans, to a rap battle between players before the entire squad sang Italy's iconic national anthem, this was an announcement like no other.

    Roberto ManciniYes, that's Roberto Mancini playing padel with a frying pan

    As the clock ticked towards Uefa's midnight deadline for squads to be named, Azzurri boss Mancini looked relaxed as he made the final cuts to his preliminary squad.

    There was no room for Roma defender Gianluca Mancini, Atalanta midfielder Matteo Pessina or Napoli winger Matteo Politano in his final 26.

    Uncapped 21-year-old striker Raspadori was called up from the under-21 set-up after impressing with six goals in 27 Serie A games for Sassuolo.

    Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini will captain Italy as they return to a major tournament five years on from a run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    Italy face Turkey in the tournament opener on Friday, 11 June. You can watch it live on BBC One.

    Italy's Euro 2020 squadNot everyone was up for the rap battle

    'I'm not sure Mancini liked it'

    Italian football journalist Daniele Verri

    It was a two-hour show on the main public TV channel, RAI 1, in Italy. Manager Roberto Mancini gave the presenter a letter and the presenter read the name of all the players called up one-by-one.

    There were some funny moments. Three Naples-born players – Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Gianluigi Donnarumma – had to sing a popular song with an artist from Naples. There was a segment involving Immobile and Andrea Belotti, who are room-mates, and they had to answer questions about each other.

    Mancini and assistant coach Daniele de Rossi were asked to play padel, a sport they do in their spare time, in the studio with frying pans, not with racquets.

    Mancini is not a very open kind of person – he's quite reserved – and I'm not sure he really liked it. It was done this way because RAI are broadcasting some of the Euro games.

    It was all a bit strange. At the end they were singing the national anthem – very badly. It was nice to watch but I had the feeling they were all a bit out of place.

    View more on twitter

    Italy Euro 2020 squad

    Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

    Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (PSG), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)

    Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Stefano Sensi (Inter Milan), Marco Verratti (PSG)

    Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)

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