The Azzurri boss is not getting carried away with his side’s run to the showpiece event against England at Wembley tonight
Roberto Mancini insists he is feeling calm and focused ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final and has urged his players to follow suit as they prepare to take on England at Wembley.
The Azzurri have been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament and go into the game unbeaten in 32 matches – a national record – stretching back to September 2018.
However, they take on a buoyant England side in its first major final for 55 years at their national stadium in front of a crowd that is likely to be dominated by Three Lions supporters.
What did Mancini say?
Italy went into Euro 2020 with a point to prove having endured the humiliation of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
They had the honour of opening the tournament on an emotional night in Rome four weeks’ ago, with Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli giving a moving rendition of Nessun Dorma before kick-off to evoke memories of World Cup 1990 – the last time Italy hosted a major tournament.
When the action kicked-off the Azzurri justified their tag as one of the pre-tournament favourites, with an own goal by Merih Demiral and strikes by Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne sealing a 3-0 win over Turkey.
Asked whether he was more nervous before the Turkey game than he is now, Mancini said: “The first match was difficult, but this is the final, it’s different.
“I’m not agitated, maybe tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll be more. This moment will be important for me, I hope to have the success that I did not have as a player in blue.
“We have to be calm, we know it will be difficult but we have to be focused on our game. We have to have fun, it’s the last game. To do it we have to perform for the 90 minutes.
“I am happy with the work that (Ciro) Immobile, (Andrea) Belotti, (Giacomo) Raspadori and the others have done. They have given more than 100%. We need one last effort, we hope to have fun and then go on holiday.”
Mancini wary of England threat
July 11 is already a special date in Italian football history as it is the day they won the World Cup in 1982, thanks to a 3-1 victory over West Germany at Santiago Bernabeu.
Mancini hopes that proves a good omen for the current generation, but he is more than aware of the threat posed by England.
“I hope that the date will be important for the second time for the Italians,” he added. “We hope to hear from our fans at the end of the match, we will think of something else during the match.
“England are strong, they have many strong players on the bench. Raheem Sterling is very fast, we will need to pay attention not just on him but also who will play on the right. Harry Kane is also strong. They have a great attack.”