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Analysis: Italy and the Netherlands, Europe’s dark horses

Italy and the Netherlands
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The UEFA Euro 2020 will give us a fresh look at the completely renovated Italy and the Netherlands, they are Europe’s dark horses. 

The term ‘Dark Horse’ has a very specific meaning in football, both Italy and the Netherlands fit in this description right now.

It refers to a football squad that isn’t considered a favorite during a competition, but it still manages to compete against the most powerful teams in the tournament.

Although both national teams have vast history in football, they haven’t been amongst the best for a number of years.

In fact, none of them qualified for the most recent FIFA World Cup and they made history by missing their opportunity.

With this fresh failure in their memory, both Italy and the Netherlands began a cleansing process that would take them years to reach its full potential.

Both federations needed to start producing young talents who could take their nation forward in the upcoming competitions.

This is how we got to today’s European Qualifiers and with both squads playing solid football that secured them a spot at the UEFA Euro 2020.

We will give you a fresh look at both squads and how they managed to reinvent themselves, they will be important rivals for next summer’s competition.

Both Italy and the Netherlands have gone through a mesmerizing process to get to where they are today, and they deserve to have a proper analysis. 

The Dutch were reborn from their ashes. 

After getting to play two consecutive semifinals in 2010 and 2014, plus the final in South Africa, Holland needed to renew their generation of players.

This nation will always be remembered as one of the most competitive squads ever, but also as one that never had the fortune to win the biggest titles.

With the final they lost in 2010 against Spain, the Netherlands played their third in World Cup history and was still on the brink of victory.

Now that a new generation of players has risen from the ashes of the last one, Ronald Koeman is taking the young squad to victory.

Just this year, they already played the UEFA Nations League against Portugal and lost again.

However, this squad is looking very promising for the next decade with players who are considered to be among football’s elite.

The most important names of this roster are Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, and Memphis Depay.

We also believe that more young players will start emerging as time keeps going by, which will make the Netherlands even more powerful than they already are.

This is a squad that plays the classic Dutch offensive football, they honor their predecessors’ history by staying true to their roots. 

Italy is back by the hand of Roberto Mancini. 


With Roberto Mancini at the helm of a brand new project, the Italian National Team has gone through a revival process that brought them several new talents to the spotlight.

With names such as Andrea Belotti, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, or Marco Verratti, this squad is as dominant as the ones from the old days.

We can’t forget that the Azzurri are known for being one of the most successful nations in football history, they have four FIFA World Cup titles among their accolades.

Mancini managed to revive that old fighting spirit and even made history during this European Qualifiers process.

With their most recent victory at Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mancini’s Italy won their number 12 consecutive victory and broke a record that was established since 1939.

If the Italians needed to come back from the 2018 World Cup fiasco, they needed to do it in spectacular fashion.

We can safely tell you that the Azzurri will be the same title contender as they ever were in the upcoming Euros, any national team should fear them next summer.

We have two teams that went through a renovation process and were successful at it, football is a little brighter due to their return. 

What’s the most impressive aspect of Italy and the Netherlands’ return to form? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.