Italy and Wales will face each other in their third Euro 2020 Group A match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome later today, June 20, 2021, at 17:00.
Ahead of the group match, the coach of Italy’s national team, Roberto Mancini says Wales play physical football like Stoke City that currently play in the English Championship. He also went on to note that Wales don’t only play physical football which entails a lot of bruising, they are also a very technical side.
Italy and Wales are looking like the two teams that will make it out of Group A but the game between Switzerland and Turkey could still change the standing of the group.
Recall that Italy won their first two games in the tournament. They beat both Turkey and Switzerland 3-0 respectively to remain the leaders of the group.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup winners currently have 6 points in two games and they are yet to concede a goal in the tournament. Their two wins so far in the tournament have extended their winning run to 10 games.
While Wales is striving to outperform their performance in the 2016 edition of the competition in which they went as far as the semi-final stage of the European Championship where they were knocked out 2-0 by Portugal, the eventual champions.
So far in Euro 2020, Wales have recorded one victory and a draw which helped them to remain on the second spot in the group with 4 points in 2 games. They need to beat or draw with the in-form Italian side to guarantee their qualification for the round of 16.
On the other hand, if Switzerland defeat bottom-placed Turkey, and Wales are defeated tonight, it would be difficult for Wales to qualify for the round of 16 without permutations.
The good thing for Wales is that coach Roberto Mancini does not see the country as a team to easily walk over. They remind him of Stoke City that gave him a tough time when he was coaching Premier League side Manchester City between 2009 and 2013. He is expecting that Italy will get such a tough treatment from Wales later tonight.
“Stoke had a very tough style of play, they were a very tough nut to crack,” Mancini told a news conference on Saturday.
“It will be a very difficult match from a physical perspective because they are a powerful side like Stoke, but they are also very technical… Wales have players like (Joe) Allen, (Gareth) Bale, and (Daniel) James. They have got some quality and skillful players.”
Gareth Bale does not accept the comparison from the coach of Italy
In reaction to Roberto Mancini’s comparison between Wales and Stoke City, Gareth Bale said he never knew that the English side that has been relegated from the Premier League since 2018 was as good as the current Wales team.
“I never knew Stoke were that good,” Bale said with a cheeky smile across his face during a press conference on Saturday.
While the coach of Wales, Rob Page claimed that he did not see the comment of the Italian tactician before he showed up for the press conference on Saturday. He however insisted that his team is focused on how to hurt their opponents.
“I’ve not seen those comments,” the coach said. “We’re not bothered what anyone else says. We’re fully focused on what we can do and how we can hurt teams.”