GLENN HODDLE was up in the Wembley stands two weeks ago when he saw Italy’s Achilles heel.
Just over an hour into their last-16 clash against Austria and the Italians thought they had conceded their first goal of the Euros.
Italy have been sensational all tournament… but they do have an Achilles heelCredit: Reuters
Marko Arnautovic’s looping header on 65 minutes was originally given before a two-minute VAR check ruled it out for offside.
And in the minutes that followed their near escape, Italy were rattled — something former England manager Hoddle took note of.
He said: “I saw a panic in them.
“They hadn’t conceded before and they panicked.
“There was a 15-minute spell where a really good side may have took them.
“They are a youngish side and their emotions took over, they were losing their shape. That is their Achilles heel — that hasn’t been found out yet.
“If it wasn’t for Jorginho, who has had a good tournament, they would have struggled.
“It was interesting when they went into extra-time and Austria were better and fitter. But they regained their emotions. It went their way.”
The Italians showed they were rattled against the AustriansCredit: Getty
Glenn Hoddle believes England have what it takes to win the EurosCredit: The Mega Agency
Goals from Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina in extra-time — before Sasa Kalajdzic’s Austrian consolation — saw Italy through to the quarter-finals.
And after seeing off Belgium, then Spain, they now face the Three Lions in a mouth-watering final tomorrow night back at Wembley.
Hoddle has great memories of facing Italy — his most famous clash against them in charge of England was a 0-0 draw in Rome in 1997 to qualify for the 1998 World Cup.
And the 63-year-old is confident Gareth Southgate’s men have what it takes to beat a side that struggles to compare to the talented Azzurri outfits of the past.
Speaking at a Betfair event, Hoddle said: “Roberto Mancini has them functioning as a team. The system is more powerful than the individual.
“They came into the tournament right under the radar. No one really took any notice that they had all these games unbeaten and hadn’t conceded.
“Strangely enough, I did have a bet on them way back to reach the semis and final — but I didn’t see them winning it.
“They are a side that are evolving and are not the finished article.
Glenn Hoddle believes England have a better chance if it goes to extra-timeCredit: Reuters
“Lorenzo Insigne is a good player but he’s not world class. He is not a Roberto Baggio or a Gianfranco Zola.
“Their best players have been Leonardo Bonucci, who is different class, and Jorginho. Two experienced players with good tactical play and positioning and keep things ticking over.”
England come into the final having had one day’s less rest but their last-four win over Denmark was the first time they had been forced into extra-time.
Italy have played 120 minutes twice already and Hoddle feels that England could actually be at their strongest if the game goes the distance once more.
Especially with attacking stars like Jack Grealish and Phil Foden possibly to come on.
He added: “No one would want to play us in extra-time. If you had Jack Grealish and Phil Foden coming on or Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho coming on, that is scary.
“Looking at those style of players they are all good penalty-takers, too. These are key things.
“You never know who is going to still be on the pitch so you can’t really pick your takers but I would back them if they can keep their nerve.”
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