Roberto Mancini has urged Italy to deliver a performance worthy of Wembley’s “football mecca” when the Azzurri face Austria in the round of 16 of Euro 2020 in London on Saturday.
Italy impressed in the group stages, winning all three matches without conceding a goal to finish first in Group A, extending their unbeaten run to 30 appearances in all competitions.
They come into the clash against Austria, who finished second in Group C, as big favorites to advance to a quarter-final against Portugal or Belgium in Munich, but it will be their first game of the tournament outside. from Rome.
âYou always have to enjoy playing at Wembley, it’s a pleasure because some players never get the chance to play in this stadium. It’s a wonderful arena and the guys have to put on a great performance because it’s what this stadium deserves, “Mancini said at a press conference.
âYou want to be involved in games in arenas like this. The players have to be happy to play at Wembley. When you play in a football mecca like Wembley you have to respect it and produce a great performance and hopefully that they will only do it tomorrow – in fact, I’m sure they will. “
Mancini has already given playing time to 25 of his squad’s 26 players and the Italians impressed in a 1-0 win over Wales in their final group game despite the manager bringing eight changes to his initial training.
âEveryone gave me a selection headache because they all played really well,â said Mancini.
“We made those changes against Wales and it was the same when we brought in substitutes in previous matches. It’s great to be able to count on players who are all fit and shooting, and all good enough. mentally relaxed. could be of benefit to us. “
There has been a lot of talk in Italian media about whether the Italian players will kneel ahead of the game against Austria, an anti-racist move adopted by several teams, but defender Leonardo Bonucci said the team did not have still decided.
âWhen we get back to the hotel, we have a meeting scheduled and will decide as a team,â he said.
“This is what we should have done before Italy against Wales, and we will have a team meeting tonight to decide what we will do tomorrow.”
Asked about it, Mancini replied: âThe most important thing is the freedom to choose.