Chelsea: The first six fixtures of the 2021/22 Premier League
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Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has performed far better for Italy at Euro 2020 than he has during his three-year spell in the Premier League, the former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton believes.
The Blues star scored the winning spot-kick to send the Azzurri through to the final after a tense penalty shootout against Spain.
Italy led through Federico Chiesa’s curling strike in a thrilling semi-final at Wembley but they were pegged back by substitute Alvaro Morata’s goal.
But Morata missed his attempt in the resultant shootout, allowing Jorginho the chance to earn redemption for Spain’s 4-1 thumping of Italy in the final of Euro 2012.
The 29-year-old coolly found the bottom right-hand corner, sending Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon the other way.
Jorginho has at times endured tough spells at Chelsea since arriving from Lazio as Maurizio Sarri’s marquee signing in the summer of 2018.
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He was the face of the Italian boss’ fateful solitary campaign in charge, despite them winning the Europa League.
However, Jorginho has since become a key player under Frank Lampard and now Thomas Tuchel.
Under the latter, he has formed an excellent partnership with N’Golo Kante in the centre of midfielder and played an important role in their Champions League final success against Manchester City.
Jorginho will now try to help Italy to similar heroics in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
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The former Republic of Ireland international Houghton has been impressed by Jorginho’s displays in Italy’s midfield.
“They have been outstanding,” the 59-year-old told Express Sport of Italy.
“What’s great about them is the way that they defend and the way that they get after you and win the ball back.
“They have a goal threat – Immobile is not everyone’s cup of tea but he’s done well, Insigne has a few goals.
“But the one that nobody seems to be talking about is Jorginho.
“He looks a totally different player to when he plays for Chelsea.
“He looks like he has more energy, and he gets around the pitch more. He gets tighter to people.
“With the back four and goalkeeper that he has behind him, he looks a lot more comfortable squeezing up the pitch. They have been really impressive, Italy.”
Italy will play the winner of tonight’s semi-final between England and Denmark.
It has been nine years since the Italians last reached a major tournament final.
They were thumped 4-1 by a prime Spain side in the Euro 2012 showdown.
Goals by David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata helped the Spanish team win their third consecutive major title after winning the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008.
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