(Reuters) – After squeezing previous Austria in extra-time to succeed in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, Italy coach Roberto Mancini stated he had anticipated Saturday’s conflict to be tougher than their subsequent tie in opposition to both Belgium or Portugal.
The sport completed 0-0 after 90 minutes earlier than objectives from substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina have been sufficient to ship the Italian’s by means of, though Sasa Kalajdzic’s late purpose led to a nervy ending.
Italy have been massive favourites to progress after profitable all three group video games however they have been removed from their free-flowing finest as they edged Franco Foda’s aspect to e-book a last-eight showdown in opposition to Belgium or Portugal.
“We knew there can be some potential banana skins on this match and we thought it’d even be harder than the quarter-final,” Mancini instructed a information convention.
“In fact, Austria are not so good as the groups we are going to face within the subsequent spherical, however they actually make life robust for you. We watched numerous their matches and so they do trigger issues.
“We knew that if we scored within the first half it could have been a special recreation. We didn’t handle to and so we needed to dig deep. The gamers actually needed to win in any respect prices.”
The Italy gamers breathed a sigh of aid after 65 minutes when Marko Arnautovic’s purpose was dominated out for offside following a VAR evaluation.
“There was nonetheless a while to go and we’d have been capable of get again into the match, however I’d have been disenchanted to concede the purpose as a result of we might have damaged the impasse within the first half, we dominated,” Mancini stated.
“We struggled a bit extra within the second half as a result of Austria are a troublesome nut to crack, they make life very troublesome for the opposition.”
The main strikers of Italy’s subsequent potential opponents, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, will likely be acquainted to Mancini’s gamers as they play their membership soccer in Serie A with Juventus and Inter Milan respectively.
However Mancini wouldn’t be drawn into saying which participant he would slightly keep away from within the subsequent spherical in Munich.
“If you get into the quarter-finals, it’s not that straightforward. Ideally we want to keep away from each, however that isn’t attainable,” he stated.
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, enhancing by Pritha Sarkar)