Roberto Mancini thinks Italy has proven doubters wrong Reach the final of Euro 2020She admitted that she had been struggling to reach the final of her grand slam nine years ago.
The Azzurri drew 1-1 with Spain at Wembley, but they dominated in terms of possession, with only 35 percent of the ball, and shots, with seven shots to 16 for their opponent, before winning 4-2 on penalties.
“There are games where you have to struggle. They can’t all be as smooth as our progress so far. We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Mancini said at a press conference.
“That is why the players and everyone who has worked with us over the past three years deserves so much recognition, because it was not easy. Almost no one believed we could do it, and yet we are in the final. We are happy for the Italians everywhere who have been following us in the weeks the last few.”
Italy will meet either Denmark or England in the final on Sunday as they seek to win their first European Championship since 1968 in their first appearance since losing 4-0 to Spain at Euro 2012.
However, the Azzurri were often at a disadvantage in front of a talented young Spanish side who denied them the ball, and Mancini was keen to underscore the scale of his team’s accomplishments.
“We are pleased to offer this evening’s great entertainment to the Italian people. We still have one match.
“We knew it was going to be a very difficult match, because in terms of possession of the ball, Spain are the best. They caused us problems, we had to dig when we needed to, we had to score and create chances where we could.
“There were some problems because we didn’t have a lot of possession. But we wanted to get to the final and we kept trying until the end. Penalties are the lottery, but I want to tip my hat to Spain, they are a great team.”
Winger Federico Chiesa was awarded the UEFA ‘Star of the Match’ award after scoring a superb curling opener, and the 23-year-old was asked if it was the highlight of his career.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “Playing for my country in matches like this, representing 60 million Italians, was an incredible dream I could never have imagined.”
Asked about his thoughts on Italy’s potential final rivals, he said: “Denmark play with a lot of intensity and throughout this tournament they have proven that they are a great team and they have some outstanding players.
“And as for England, they have shown that their players can be match winners and have some of the best players in the final third and all over the field.”