Federico Chiesa has told Italy supporters they should dare to dream of Euro 2020 glory – because Roberto Mancini has got the Azzurri thinking the same way.
On Sunday, Italy will attempt to make it 30 games without defeat when they tackle Wales in Rome.
Doing so would mean Italy equal their all-time longest unbeaten run, previously achieved between November 1935 and July 1939.
Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but have been revitalised under head coach Mancini, and 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland mean their place in the last-16 of this European Championship is already assured.
“The fans are right to dream and we are right with them,” Chiesa said in a news conference. “We are here to try to go all the way and to fulfil this great dream.”
Winger Chiesa, the son of former Italy striker Enrico Chiesa, has made two substitute appearances so far, playing 30 minutes.
With Mancini expected to rest some key players, Chiesa could get his chance from the start against Wales.
“The coach asks us to be ready. When he calls me I will be ready, we are all starters and we must be ready to play,” Chiesa said.
“I know inside of me how to live through this moment, there is a fantastic energy, electricity, the atmosphere is great and it’s thanks to the coach.”
— Italy (@azzurri) June 18, 2021
Italy are looking to win all three of their group stage matches for the fourth time at a major finals, previously doing so at the 1978 and 1990 World Cups, and at Euro 2000.
Their confidence stems not only from the ongoing 29-game unbeaten streak, but the way they have stepped up their level lately.
They have won their last 10 games, keeping a clean sheet every time. In all, they have gone 965 minutes without conceding, scoring 31 goals without reply over this run.
Chiesa has earmarked Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey as the main threats within the Wales ranks.
Real Madrid winger Bale is “above all” the player that Italy should be watching out for, Chiesa indicated.
In Wales’ 2-0 win over Turkey on Wednesday, Bale became the first player to create five big chances in a match at the European Championship since 1980, the earliest date for which Opta has such data available.
Opta defines a big chance as ‘a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score’, and two of those five opportunities against Turkey were converted, with Ramsey and Connor Roberts the beneficiaries of Bale’s brilliance.
Ramsey is a team-mate of Chiesa at Juventus, and the Italy wide man said: “He is a very intelligent and very technically strong player. He has quality, unfortunately this season he was hit by injuries. We are also friends off the pitch.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!