Captain Giorgio Chiellini warned Italy were raring to get their Euro 2020 campaign going to prove that they are back among the elite three years after missing out on the World Cup finals.
“The desire to rebuild, to relive a tournament as a protagonist is immense,” said the 36-year-old Juventus defender on the eve of their Euro opener against Turkey in Rome.
Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, losing a play-off to Sweden, and have won the European trophy just once in 1968.
“The defeat in Milan against Sweden stuck with us, we can never forget it, but we managed to turn disappointment into enthusiasm and the desire to do well,” continued Chiellini.
“We can’t wait to get out there and relive those emotions.”
Chiellini is Italy’s most experienced player with 107 caps spanning 17 years.
He played in the side that lost the Euro 2012 final to Spain, but has never won a trophy with the ‘Azzurri’.
“I believe to try to do something in this type of tournament it will also take a pinch of folly,” added the veteran defender.
Coach Roberto Mancini insisted the objective was also to provide entertainment in a tournament postponed for a year amid the pandemic.
“After everything that has happened I think it is important to entertain people,” said Mancini with the opening match played in front of 16,000 fans in a Stadio Olimpico at 25 percent capacity.
“Certainly it would have been better to have more people, also considering how the situation is evolving.
“If the Olimpico had been full they would have been the 12th player on the pitch, but in any case we are playing in Rome, and 16,000 people is already a first step.”
Mancini’s Italy are looking to extend their 27-match unbeaten run.
“I was confident three years ago, even more today, we’ve forged an excellent team spirit,” added Mancini.
“The first match is always the most difficult, but we must be free mentally and do our job and be different, this is our goal.
“We worked well, we have good players and we have created an excellent group.
“Our desire to live this European Championship as protagonists is strong.
“We would like to continue having fun and maybe get to London.”
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Man United Make £50m Bid For Madrid Defender, Varane
Manchester United made a £50million attempt to sign Real Madrid French defender Raphael Varane but the Laliga giants are holding out for £80m.
Man United remain in dialogue with Madrid and will seek a compromise over the fee, but are reluctant to meet the £80m valuation as Varane is out of contract next year.
Madrid are prepared to sell Varane, 28, to United and have already offset his possible departure by signing auxiliary centre-back David Alaba from Bayern Munich on a free transfer.
Sergio Ramos is leaving Madrid after 16 years but the club has debts of €901m and president Florentino Perez has stressed they are unable to finance any marquee moves this summer.
Several clubs are prepared to move for Varane only when his contract expires next year but Perez is intent on obtaining a fee.
Varane has spent a decade at the Bernabeu and was outstanding in France’s European Championship win against Germany on Tuesday.
With the added exposure of the Euros, Madrid are trying to maximise Varane’s resale value despite the short length of time remaining on his contract
Man United have earmarked Varane as their ideal defensive target to complement Harry Maguire and have a long-standing interest in the Frenchman since they attempted to sign Varane from Lens in 2011.
Varane is a boyhood United fan whose hero was Rio Ferdinand and earlier this year he rejected an enticing contract offer from Madrid that included the club captaincy.
He felt there was still a disparity between his salary offer and what his best-paid teammates earn.
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Euro 2020: Sweden Edge Slovakia, Move Top Of Group E
Emil Forsberg’s goal was enough to give Sweden the much important three points against Slovakia in Friday’s Euro 2020 Group E game.
The Sweden midfielder converted a 77th-minute penalty to give his team a 1-0 victory at Saint Petersburg Stadium, putting the Swedes on the brink of the knockout stage.
A point in their final game against Poland at the Krestovsky Stadium on Wednesday would be enough to be sure of a top-two finish in the group.
Slovakia could have qualified with a game to spare with a win, but still have their fate in their own hands ahead of their final match against Spain in Seville.
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Busquets Tests Negative For COVID-19
Sergio Busquets has tested negative in the PCR test he took and is en route to Las Rozas today to join up with La Roja before they head to Seville this afternoon according to Diario AS.
He won’t face Poland tomorrow, but he’s expected to be ready for Spain’s third match at Euro 2020 next Wednesday, against Slovakia.
The Barcelona midfielder had tested positive the weekend before Euro 2020 got underway, throwing Luis Enrique’s plans for the opener against Sweden into chaos.
They drew that game 0-0 at La Cartuja, dominating proceedings but failing to carve open their visitors, who sat deep with a strict 4-4-2 shape. To improve this, Luis Enrique is said to be considering making a change at full-back, midfield and forward
Luis Enrique could bring in Gerard Moreno, but not in place of the much-maligned Alvaro Morata. The pair could form a double-pronged attacking two, with Ferran Torres making way. Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres look set to continue at centre-back, but Jose Luis Gaya could come in for Jordi Alba.
109 total views, 109 views today
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