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Italian coaches are dominating the dugouts at Euro 2024. The coaching school is the reason why

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Italian coaches are dominating the dugouts at Euro 2024. The coaching school is the reason why
News

News

Italian coaches are dominating the dugouts at Euro 2024. The coaching school is the reason why

2024-06-22 21:09 Last Updated At:21:10

Italy continues a tradition at the European Championship with Italian coaches — this time five — in charge of national teams at the tournament in Germany.

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti is joined by Vincenzo Montella (Turkey), Domenico Tedesco (Belgium), Marco Rossi (Hungary) and Francesco Calzona (Slovakia).

With five of the 24 teams in Germany led by Italians, this tops the Netherlands’ mark of having three coaches — out of 16 teams — at Euro 2008.

All but Tedesco studied at the Italian federation’s coaching school, which is directed by former coach Renzo Ulivieri, who is also the president of the Italian soccer coaches’ association.

“It is a great source of pride for all of Italian soccer and especially for our coaching school,” Ulivieri said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We think that our coaches are excellent, for two reasons: ours is a good school and then the coaches have a very educational apprenticeship within our leagues, both in the professional leagues but also in the amateur ones, where tactics play a huge part.”

The strength is evident not only in the national teams but also at the club level. Carlo Ancelotti, one of the most famous Italian coaches, won his fifth Champions League title this month when Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the final.

Atalanta, under Gian Piero Gasperini, won the Europa League, beating Leverkusen 3-0. Only Fiorentina's narrow 1-0 loss to Olympiakos in the Europa Conference League final under coach Vincenzo Italiano prevented Italian managers from sweeping the European titles.

“The secret (to Italian managerial success) is our predisposition to the art of making the best out of everything, even in difficult situations,” Ulivieri added. “An Italian-Neapolitan art, which is often useful in being a coach.”

The best known of the Italian coaches at the tournament, Spalletti also got the highest marks.

Spalletti attended the FIGC’s coaching school in 1998-99 and graduated with the maximum grade attainable: 110 cum laude. He wrote his thesis on “The 3-5-2 playing system.”

Spalletti took charge of Italy last year, shortly after quitting Napoli. He led the southern team to its first Serie A title in more than three decades.

That also ended a lengthy wait for his first Italian league title despite coaching teams such as Inter Milan and Roma. He won Italian Cup titles with Roma in 2007 and 2008 and then Russian league trophies with Zenit St. Petersburg in 2010 and 2012.

The 65-year-old Spalletti has brought his all-attacking style and flair to a reinvigorated Italy.

However, the Azzurri have had a stuttering start to their title defense. Italy beat Albania 2-1 in their opening match before being completely outclassed in a 1-0 loss to Spain.

Montella was also one of the top students in class, with a final mark of 110/110 at the end of his course in 2011.

Montella took charge of Turkey’s national team last year but has been living in the country since 2021 as coach of Super Lig team Adana Demirspor.

The 50-year-old had previously coached Fiorentina, AC Milan and Sampdoria among others in his native country as well as Sevilla in Spain. His only trophy as coach was the Italian Super Cup with Milan.

Montella was a prolific forward during his playing career and helped Italy to the Euro 2000 final.

“As a student at the school, Montella was exactly like he was when he was a player: a stellar kid, also studious,” Ulivieri said.

Turkey won its opener 3-1 against debutant Georgia but Montella's team will face a much tougher task against Portugal on Saturday.

Slovakia may be Calzona’s first job as head coach but the 55-year-old has had an impressive apprenticeship.

Calzona was assistant coach to Maurizio Sarri at Napoli from 2015-18. He was also part of Spalletti’s staff at the Serie A team and helped lay the foundation for its run to the league title.

Calzona left in August 2022, before the title-winning season, when former Napoli and Slovakia captain Marek Hamsik — who holds his country’s appearance and goalscoring records — suggested he take over as the coach of Slovakia’s national team.

After steering Slovakia to Euro 2024, Calzona was given his first senior role at club level when Napoli turned to him in February as its third coach in a disastrous season. He was given a contract for the remainder of the season and allowed to do both jobs.

Slovakia pulled off the biggest shock of Euro 2024 so far when it beat Belgium in their opener. It lost its second group match to Ukraine.

After several years of coaching in the lower leagues of Italian soccer and then finding himself without a club for a year, Rossi considered joining his brother’s accountancy firm.

But a chance meeting with the sporting director of Honved at a restaurant in Budapest led to him to take charge of the Hungarian team.

The 59-year-old Rossi had two spells with Honved and led the team to its first Hungarian league title in 24 years in 2017. He also coached a Slovakian team before being appointed Hungary coach in July 2018.

Rossi steered Hungary to Euro 2020 but lost its opener to Portugal and was eliminated at the group stage despite impressive draws against France and Germany.

Hungary lost both its matches so far at this year's tournament, to Switzerland and Germany.

The youngest of the Italian coaches, Tedesco was also the only one not to study at the federation’s coaching school.

The 38-year-old Italian-German was appointed as Belgium coach in February last year but has quickly built a solid and entertaining team that was unbeaten in his tenure until the shock loss to Slovakia.

Tedesco emigrated from Italy to Germany with his family when he was 2 years old. He began his coaching career with the youth squads at Stuttgart when he was just 22, while also working at the Mercedes factory.

Tedesco obtained his coaching license in Germany and was top in a class that included current Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann. He coached the senior teams at Schalke, Spartak Moscow and Leipzig, which he led to the German Cup in 2022.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Belgium' head coach Domenico Tedesco stands before a Group E match between Belgium and Slovakia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Belgium' head coach Domenico Tedesco stands before a Group E match between Belgium and Slovakia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Slovakia's head coach Francesco Calzona gives instructions during the Group E match between Slovakia and Ukraine at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dusseldorf, Germany, Friday, June 21, 2024. Ukraine won 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Slovakia's head coach Francesco Calzona gives instructions during the Group E match between Slovakia and Ukraine at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dusseldorf, Germany, Friday, June 21, 2024. Ukraine won 2-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Turkey's head coach Vincenzo Montella celebrates with players at the end of a Group F match between Turkey and Georgia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Turkey's head coach Vincenzo Montella celebrates with players at the end of a Group F match between Turkey and Georgia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Italy's head coach Luciano Spalletti gives instructions from the side line during a Group B match between Spain and Italy at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Italy's head coach Luciano Spalletti gives instructions from the side line during a Group B match between Spain and Italy at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Next Article

Nick Gonzales hits winning single in 9th, Pirates rally for 8-7 win over Phillies

2024-07-20 11:13 Last Updated At:11:21

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Nick Gonzales hit the winning RBI single in the ninth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied from a three-run deficit for an 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

With the Pirates trailing 7-6, Connor Joe led off the ninth with a single before José Alvarado (1-4) walked Andrew McCutchen. Michael A. Taylor, running for Joe, and McCutchen executed a double steal. Oneil Cruz brought in the tying run on a one-out fielder’s choice.

Gonzales then sent a first-pitch cutter through the left side of the infield to defeat the Phillies, who have lost three of four in front of a sellout crowd of 39,530, the largest in the regular season at PNC Park since April 13, 2015.

“I don’t think so," Gonzales said when asked whether he'd played in a more memorable game. "Just the back and forth, especially against them, it’s pretty cool to do. It kind of shows that we can compete against the best.”

The Pirates have won five in a row to move over .500 at 49-48 for the first time since April 24.

Carmen Mlodzinski (2-3) allowed two singles in the ninth before retiring three in a row.

Weston Wilson, who had a career-best three hits, put the Phillies ahead 4-3 in the third inning with a home run to left, his first this season and second in the majors. He capped a three-run first inning with his first of two singles, grounding it off the chest of third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to follow a two-run double from Nick Castellanos.

“(Wilson is) a baseball player,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. “He can run. He can hit. ... He's a baseball player, so we're giving him a chance here. Hopefully, he grabs it.”

Cruz drove in the first of Pittsburgh’s three runs off Aaron Nola in the first, hitting a double with an exit velocity of 120.5 mph to center. He led off the third with another double before scoring on a sacrifice fly to tie it 4-all.

“He was outstanding," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I think if anybody needed the four days, it was him, because I think you guys saw him in Chicago. He was beat up and he wasn’t moving at full speed. To be able to get him back to healthy I think is really important.”

Nola was tagged for four runs and six hits with four strikeouts in five innings.

“Early in the game, he looked a little bit rusty,” Thomson said. “Seven days off between starts. A lot of stressful pitches early.”

Trea Turner put the Phillies up for a third time with a two-run homer off Pirates starter Martín Pérez in the fourth inning. Edmundo Sosa scored on Kyle Schwarber’s sacrifice fly to make it 7-4 in the fifth.

Pérez lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks.

Cruz hit an RBI infield single in front of Rowdy Tellez’s third sacrifice fly of the night that cut the deficit to 7-6 in the seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP Ranger Suárez threw Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, going out to 120 feet and throwing a flat-ground session before the game. He missed the All-Star Game with low back spasms. ... RHP Zack Wheeler (back tightness) also threw 120 feet on Friday but did not have a flat-ground session.

Pirates: LHP Bailey Falter threw a live bullpen on Thursday. He was placed on the 15-day injured list with left triceps tendinitis on July 7.

UP NEXT

RHP Luis Ortiz (4-2, 2.84 ERA) will take the mound for the Pirates on Saturday, opposite Phillies LHP Cristopher Sánchez (7-4, 2.96).

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martín Pérez delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martín Pérez delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales hits a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales hits a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper celebrates with teammates in the dugout after coming around to score in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper celebrates with teammates in the dugout after coming around to score in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Castellanos celebrates after hitting a two-run RBI double in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Castellanos celebrates after hitting a two-run RBI double in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Weston Wilson celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Weston Wilson celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Trea Turner (7) reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off of Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Trea Turner (7) reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off of Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Oneil Cruz hits an RBI double in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Oneil Cruz hits an RBI double in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen slides in safely to third base in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen slides in safely to third base in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Garrett Stubbs reacts after being hit by a pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Philadelphia Phillies' Garrett Stubbs reacts after being hit by a pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, center, is is congratulated by teammates after hitting a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, center, is is congratulated by teammates after hitting a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, center, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, center, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, right, reacts after hitting a walkoff single off of Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Nick Gonzales, right, reacts after hitting a walkoff single off of Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Justin Berl)

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