🧩 Euro 2020: Why midfield maestro Marco Verratti was the key piece in a winning Italian puzzle

🧩 Euro 2020: Why midfield maestro Marco Verratti was the key piece in a winning Italian puzzle

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti missed Italy's first two matches at Euro 2020 but made up for lost time with a string of imperious performances as the Azzurri charged to the title.

In Sunday's final at Wembley, Verratti had more touches (134) than England central trio Jordan Henderson (22), Declan Rice (49) and Kalvin Phillips (57) combined. 

Verratti was able to effectively shackle and stifle the creativity of Mason Mount and the aforementioned central England trio when Italy wasn't in possession, and then dictate the tempo when they did have the ball (which was roughly 66% of the time). In typical Verratti fashion, Italy's playmaker slowed the game down when he saw fit and then injected urgency into proceedings when the time was right. 

Since his first game in the tournament against Wales, 28-year-old Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 in chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59) tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37). Simply put, he has been the mastermind and architect of everything good that the newly-crowned European champions produced. 

Verratti missed the first two group stage matches as he worked his way back to full fitness but when he slotted back into the side, his influence was immense. Overall, no player at Euro 2020 created more chances than Verratti's 14. Always vocal on the pitch, he was also once again a key organizational presence. 

📉 Verratti's Euro 2020 final: By the numbers

  • 🤚 134 touches
  • 📊 112 of 119 passes completed
  • 💯 100% aerial duels won
  • 🥽 94% pass accuracy
  • 🎯 12 passes into the final third
  • 🎱 8 ball recoveries
  • 🤺 7 duels won
  • 🥾 5 tackles made
  • 🥽 2 chances created
  • 🎯 2 shots

With Copa América winner Leandro Paredes, new signing Gini Wijnaldum and Verratti combining in a new-look central midfield combination for PSG next season, the Parisians will be looking to go all the way in the 2021-22 Champions League.

Right now though, Verratti will bask in Italy's glorious run to a first European Championships crown since 1968, and rightly take the plaudits as one of the finest central midfielders on the planet.

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