Italy’s unbeaten streak will not last forever, and Austrian coach Franco Foda plans to be the one to stop it.
The Italians became one of the favorites of the European Championship after winning all three matches in the group stage, scoring seven goals and conceding none. These three Euro 2020 victories extended Roberto Mancini’s unbeaten streak to 30 games – in line with the previous record set in the 1930s.
“At first it seemed like an insurmountable and impossible challenge because they hadn’t lost an eternity,” Foda said. “But sooner or later, even Mancini’s team will lose.”
Austria, which has reached the round of 16 for the first time, will get its chance at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
In addition to the unsurpassed series, Italy will also try to set another record. The team did not concede a goal in 11 games, a total of 1055 minutes. If Austria fails to score, Italy will surpass the record of 1143 minutes set between 1972 and 1974.
For a team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy’s latest results are quite remarkable.
“It’s something that makes us proud, especially considering what they think of us before the start of the tournament,” said Italian striker Lorenzo Insine. “But we have to stay focused, calm and think for ourselves. We haven’t done anything yet. Our goal was to get through, it wasn’t just to get through the group stage. “
The 30-year-old Insigne embodies Italy’s transformation under Mancini.
Former coach Gian Piero Ventura lost the team’s support during the World Cup play-off loss to Sweden when he left the Insigne – considered the team’s most talented player – on the bench.
Insigne has established a strong partnership with Ciro Immobile, which has finally managed to translate its success in Serie A on the international stage.
“This is the first time I have played in such an important event at this level, in such an important role,” said Insigne. “In the past, other coaches have used teams that were less compatible with my style of play, although I have always been available.
“Mancini now uses a game system that is more suitable for me and the characteristics of other players.”
Insigne already have experience with Wembley goals, in a 1-1 draw against England in a friendly match in 2018.
“It was just friendly, but it was amazing,” Insigne said. “I think everyone’s dream is to score in such a stadium. We will try to go to London and present a great show, as always.
“Our strength is that we never change our nature. Austria is working hard and creating pressure, we will study our opponents, but we will prepare for the match by thinking about what we should do. “
Italy plays with such a spirit that the buzzword among Azzurri players is “fabulous”.
No one embodies this more than Giacomo Raspadori, a 21-year-old Sassuolo striker who didn’t even play a match for Italy when he was named in the 26-man squad for the tournament.
Raspadori was brought out as a substitute in Italy’s final match against Wales in the group, making only his second appearance for his country.
“It’s all a story for the team and for me,” Raspadori said. “In four months, so many things have changed.
“Those who are now my teammates in Italy were the ones I just saw as sports idols.”