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Football: Improving Italy not a frontrunner in Euro 2020 race, says Mancini

Football: Improving Italy not a frontrunner in Euro 2020 race, says Mancini

Italy's manager Roberto Mancini, left, salutes his player Manuel Locatelli during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group A match between Italy and Switzerland at Olympic stadium in Rome on Jun 16, 2021. (Photo: Ettore Ferrari, Pool via AP)

ROME: Roberto Mancini said France, Portugal and Belgium should be considered as favourites for Euro 2020 ahead of his Italy side after the Azzurri recorded their second consecutive 3-0 win at the tournament against Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday.

The impressive Manuel Locatelli scored either side of the break and Ciro Immobile added a late third as the Italians became the first team to book their place in the knockout stages and stretched their unbeaten run to 29 games in all competitions.

The manner of their victory, which followed an equally dominant dismantling of Turkey in the tournament’s opening game last Friday, has raised hopes among Italy fans that they could go all the way this summer.

“France, Portugal and Belgium are all at the Euros,” Mancini told a news conference.

“One is the world champion, one is the European champion and the other is ranked number one in the world.

“These are teams that have been built over years and are further along than us in development. But anything can happen in football.”

He added: “There is room for improvement. We have some young players who have never even played in European cups at club level, so these guys have enormous room for improvement.”

Italy’s progress to the last-16 is already secured, but they face a final Group A game against Wales at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday and would fall to second place with a defeat.

Mancini’s side lost captain Giorgio Chiellini to injury in the first half and he was asked whether players will be rested or rotated for their final group game.

“We will see what the condition of the players is, because it was a tough, difficult game, there were some players who were very tired at the end. We will see over the next couple of days and then we will decide,” he said.

Source: Reuters

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