We are in for a blockbuster Euro 2020 semi-final clash as Spain prepare to take on an in-form Italian side. The two nations have collided three times in the last three European Championships. Spain won the encounters in 2008 and in the 2012 Euro Final, but lost to the Azzurri in 2016.
Italy have been in surreal form under Robert Mancini and have played some of the most exciting football in recent memory. They are currently on a 32-game unbeaten run, which is a national record for the four-time World Cup winners. They overcame one of the favourites Belgium in the Quarter-Final and there’s plenty of speculation surrounding Italy going all the way.
However, before the semi-final against Spain, manager Mancini put those headlines to rest and reminded everyone that they will still need to achieve a result against La Roja first.
“It will be a tough game, Spain are different from Belgium, but we will still face many difficulties. We suffered against Austria because of their aggressivity and because it was the first game in the knock-out stage,” Mancini said at a press conference.
“Spain have been extraordinary over the last few years, they have many young players and an excellent coach.”
Mancini lauded Spain’s coach Luis Enrique very highly. Enrique achieved tremendous success during his tenure as Barcelona’s manager. He had faced a lot of criticism in Spain following his controversial exclusion of Real Madrid players from the squad. However, he has dispensed with them since then with Spain getting better and better as the tournament progressed.
“He’s a great coach and I’m not just saying that because he won the Champions League with Barcelona,” Mancini continued.
“All his teams play good football. If a coach makes all his teams play well, that shows his ability as a coach.”
Luis Enrique had also managed Daniele De Rossi at Roma and De Rossi is now part of Mancini’s backroom staff.
“Daniele has spoken highly of Luis Enrique, but he’s changed since. It will be a little different. Spain deserve to be here,” Mancini said.
The former Manchester City boss also defended his team’s style and stressed that they cannot become Spain overnight.
“We can’t become Spain just like that,” Mancini explained in his pre-match press conference.
“We are Italy and we have our own style. They have a very defined style and we are Italy.”
Mancini also advised caution for the Italian fans and media and reminded them that a Euro 2020 final berth cannot be taken for granted.
“This is a mistake that must be avoided, as we can’t think we’re going to the get to the stadium and just win,” he declared.
“It won’t be easy. We know that we have to play a great game,” Mancini concluded.