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England vs Italy: Only ‘madman’ Roberto Mancini believed Azzurri could make Euros final - Federico Bernardeschi

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Italy winger Federico Bernardeschi says “madman” Roberto Mancini was the only person who believed they could make the final of Euro 2020 when he took charge in 2018.

The Azzurri face England at Wembley on Sunday after beating Spain in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

It completes a remarkable journey for the Italians, who are now unbeaten in their past 33 games, after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Mancini was appointed in the wake of that failed qualifying campaign and Bernardeschi says the 56-year-old never doubted he could rebuild Italy.

“There was only a madman three years ago to say we could get to this point and it’s Mr Mancini,” said Bernardeschi.

“He’s always believed in us, he has always brought enthusiasm to everyone. When he says that we are a squad of 26 players, it is the truth, because we are a wonderful group.

“This is the result of everyone’s work, and getting to this point in front of the people, after the period of suffering that we went through, is something extraordinary.

“I am so happy. In the semi-finals, against a great team, it is always going to be complicated. Spain are a great team and in recent years they have shown how strong they are.

“But winning the semi-final was exceptional, we deserve it. We know getting to the final is not everything and there is still one last step to take.”

Italy’s players are well aware of how difficult it will be for them to defeat England at Wembley if they are to achieve their dream of taking home the trophy.

“We need to simply think about ourselves, as we have done throughout this tournament,” said winger Federico Chiesa. “That’s what has got us this far. We need to think about what we need to do on the pitch.

“As for England, they’ve really showed their individual players can be match-winners. They’ve some top players in the final third and all across the pitch.”

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