Saturday November 30 2019
Mancini: 'A very balanced group'

Roberto Mancini warned Italy are in “a very balanced group” with Turkey, Switzerland and Wales at Euro 2020. “We are not favourites.”

The Azzurri were top seeds in the draw after qualifying with a 100 per cent record of 10 wins out of 10.

They successfully avoided the danger teams France and Portugal, as both those ended up in the same group as Germany.

“While it’s always good to see a draw, every team in the final phase is competitive. We could’ve got France, but at the end of the day, it is a very balanced group,” said the Italy CT.

Euro 2020 will be played in several different countries, but Italy will have all three group games at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

“All games are to be played. We are not the favourites, as all these teams play good football. The fact we are playing in Rome is a small advantage, but every match will still be difficult.

“I want to single out Wales, because they play excellent football and have many of their players in the Premier League. They are solid and not easy to beat.”

The potential path forward if Italy win the group would see them take on likely Ukraine in the Round of 16 and then Croatia in the quarter-finals.

“If we want to reach the semi-finals and Final in London, we’ve got to go through the whole journey,” noted Mancini.

“Every game could be predictable on paper, but Croatia, for example, are the World Cup runners-up. So let’s focus on getting through the group first.

“Nothing is to be taken for granted. Maybe some of the favourites will go out early, but if you want to go all the way to Wembley, you need to beat everyone in front of you.

“We’re doing well, but there’s a lot more work to do and we need to improve a great deal from here to the Euros. Now I face a big problem whittling down my squad to just 23 players.”