The Italian national team is set for a major Euro 2020 knockout stage clash as it will be taking on Belgium in the quarter-final round.
Italy clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of this tournament thanks to its Round of 16 win against Austria, where the Azzurri needed a pair of extra-time goals to advance on through to the next round.
Italy manager Roberto Mancini knew that the fixture against Austria was going to be far from an effortless task for the side, which did turn out to be the case in the end.
In speaking at a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi) ahead of Italy’s quarter-final match, Mancini reflected on the win against Austria.
We knew Austria. We had seen them play. We knew the difficulties that they create, because of their mentality, because of their strength, and ultimately because it was the first knockout stage. We knew it would be more difficult to win.
Italy now is slated to take on Belgium, which will be a notable challenge in Mancini’s current run with the Azzurri.
We face the best team in Europe along with France. If they are in the lead it is because they have done well but we will try to win the game. I have great respect for Belgium but we will have to play our game and see what happens.
Switzerland beat France, Holland went out against the Czech Republic: there are no easy games now. We are in the most difficult part of the knockout stage but we are aware of our qualities. We will play our game, we can adjust as the game goes on.
Lazio talents Ciro Immobile and Francesco Acerbi both may be slated to start in this match, which would be their biggest tests at the international level.