Arsène Wenger

Technical Italy rewarded for attack-mindedness

Arsene Wenger

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The key to success is always the intelligence of the players and what they make of a situation.

They faced a very difficult situation before the European Championship began with the corruption scandal in their country and with bad results in their preparation.

Their job was to identify the problem and sort it out and they did that very well.

I'm pleased for Italy for various reasons. They showed that no matter what kind of problem you face before a big competition, you can always find solutions if you're mentally strong and united.

As well, I'm especially pleased for them because this Euro has seen the death of the 4-4-2. Everybody except Italy has played with one striker, and the Azzurri are the only team to have played in a real 4-4-2 with a very technical midfield.

If you look at the numbers, Italy are the team with more shots on goal than any other team in this competition. That's why I'm very happy that they are through to the final: because they played a really offensive and positive style of football and you want these kind of teams to be rewarded when you love football.

Italy boosted by technical wizardry of Pirlo and Montolivo

I feel that Italy have improved the technical level of their team with the inclusion of Riccardo Montolivo. When you look at the Italian midfield with Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Montolivo and Daniele De Rossi, they have shown that they have a fantastic technical level and it will be interesting to see them against Spain.

I believe that this championship has shown something that is very interesting for people who work in football and also for the future of the game: this is the Euro of short technique. It is the Euro for the players who can keep the ball in small areas, make little dribbles and little passes through two or three players.

It is no coincidence that players like Xavi and Pirlo are in the final, or that they are basically the stars of this tournament, because their quality of keeping the ball under pressure to gain time in possession has been especially highlighted over the past two weeks.

It's something very interesting. With the spaces available shorter, smaller players who can turn quickly and have a short, intelligent technique with two feet have become more important.

Balotelli an exceptional talent

Mario Balotelli has until now been well-known for his life outside football and his impetuous reactions on the pitch.

But I think that it's easy to forget that he's only 21 years old. Secondly, what makes me always think he has something special is that despite all the problems he has had, managers have always kept faith in him.

That means he's certainly not a bad person. And secondly he's certainly an exceptional talent. When managers keep sticking with a player despite all the media pressure, it means those two ingredients are there.

A player might not always deal well with his environment but he learns that when he gets older. But Balotelli certainly has an exceptional talent and he proved it again during the semi-final.

I liked his first goal against Germany. It's beautiful to watch. He rises in the air like a lift without any effort and finishes technically very well. But he also read the cross well, earlier than his defender. He's already in the air and the defender never got up there. That means he's an intelligent boy who understands the game really well.

Pirlo the player of the tournament

I would say Pirlo has been the outstanding player, because he has not missed one game since the start of the competition.

In every single game he has been outstanding. He has been certainly the guy who has combined the most talent and consistency since the start of the competition.

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