Friday, December 4, 2020

Italy ready to compete against Europe´s best – Evani

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Nov 2020

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Italy are ready to test themselves against Europe’s best sides after booking a place in the Nations League finals, says stand-in boss Alberigo Evani.

The Azzurri beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 at the Grbavica Stadium on Wednesday to finish one point better off than the Netherlands at the top of Group A1.

Italy are now unbeaten in 22 matches, which is their best run with defeat since  2006 – when they won the World Cup.

Belgium, Spain and world champions France are also through to next October’s finals, likely to be staged in Italy, and Evani is excited by the prospect of taking on Europe’s elite.

“It will be nice to compare ourselves against some of the best sides around,” he told RAI Sport. “We are talking about the best in Europe and we can’t wait to see our level. 

“We think we are close to competing with them, but we will have to see when we facing them next year.”

Andrea Belotti and Domenico Berardi were on the scoresheet in Sarajevo as Italy made it three wins from three without conceding in their November fixtures.

All three of those matches have been without head coach Roberto Mancini in the dugout following his positive test for coronavirus, with assistant Evani taking temporary charge.

After seeing off Bosnia-Herzegovina to accomplish the mission of prolonging their Nations League campaign, Evani dedicated Italy’s latest win to Mancini.

“We speak to him every day – he knows exactly what is going on,” Evani said. “These guys have given him a nice gift and great satisfaction.

“The boys have been wonderful. They have done all this without the coach present. They are an extraordinary group.

“I would like to say thanks to them for giving everything for the shirt and getting three wins with three convincing performances. I can only say thanks to all of them.”

Berardi’s goal was his 10th for Italy, making him the 35th different player to reach double figures, while Berardi’s was his third of 2020 – more than any other Azzurri player.

Despite not finding the net himself, Lorenzo Insigne was arguably Italy’s best player as he registered an unrivalled four key passes, including a delightful assist for Belotti’s opener.

The Napoli forward was pleased with the overall display of his side in what was their final outing for at least four months.

“We knew this was going to be a difficult match,” he said. “We did well to approach it fired up. It wasn’t just a great performance technically and tactically, but also in terms of mentality.

“The coach wants us to play our football wherever we go and that is the mentality we’ve really embraced. This is a jersey to be honoured every time and we give our all for Italy.”

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