'Italy are not favourites' – Mancini singles out 'solid' Wales in Euro 2020 Group A

The Azzurri won all of their qualifiers, but their boss stressed anything could happen in a balanced group

Italy manager Roberto Mancini believes his side are not favourites in Group A for Euro 2020. 

Drawn alongisde Turkey, Wales and Switzerland, the Azzurri will be backed to progress after winning all of their qualfiying games and will play all three of their group games in Rome. 

While in good form and boasting home ground advantage, Mancini stressed his team can’t be considered favourites, while singling out Wales as a potential stumbling block. 

“All games are to be played. We are not the favourites, as all these teams play good football,” Mancini said. “The fact we are playing in Rome is a small advantage, but every match will still be difficult.

“I want to single out Wales, because they play excellent football and have many of their players in the Premier League. They are solid and not easy to beat.

“If we want to reach the semi-finals and Final in London, we’ve got to go through the whole journey.

“Every game could be predictable on paper, but Croatia, for example, are the World Cup runners-up. So let’s focus on getting through the group first.

“Nothing is to be taken for granted. Maybe some of the favourites will go out early, but if you want to go all the way to Wembley, you need to beat everyone in front of you.

“We’re doing well, but there’s a lot more work to do and we need to improve a great deal from here to the Euros. Now I face a big problem whittling down my squad to just 23 players.”

Switzerland coach and former Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic admits he wanted to draw Italy but is certain they’ll be hard to stop in Group A.

“I wanted to get Italy in the draw, while the Nazionale were fortunate too, seeing as they were paired with three opponents who will all battle for second place,” Petkovic told Sky Sport Italia.

“It will be a pleasure for me to return to Italy and above all to Rome. We can’t wait.

“They [Italy] are one of the candidates to win the trophy. They’ll play three group games at home, but in the knockout rounds, anything is possible.

“I’ve been really impressed with the mentality that Mancini has given to this team. Winning helps to gain confidence and that brings solid results.

“The Azzurri have many new players, much like Switzerland, and we’ll see a lot of promising young faces in the tournament. The main problem is that not many of them are first choice players at club level.”

Italy will kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Turkey on June 12 before subsequent games against Switzerland and Wales. 

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