Robert Page has said that Wales are determined to advance to the knockout stages of the European Championship in style and emphasized that they have no desire to “cross the line” as they try to unseat Italy in Rome.
Both teams are set to qualify for the round of 16, but a surprising victory for Wales on Sunday would end Italy’s 29-game unbeaten streak and guarantee first place in the group. A draw would see Italy win Group A and Wales would finish as runners-up, regardless of Switzerland’s result against Turkey.
“I’ve told the guys, we don’t want to limp to the other end of the line,” Page said. “We want to qualify in style and get where we deserve, which in my opinion are the first two. It would take something massive [to win] but I know that the group of boys is capable of doing it.
“We have done well to get the four points but we have put ourselves in a situation now where we do not want to regret it. We are going to choose a team to go out and give absolutely everything for the cause and for the fans and hopefully finish in style and get one of the first two places.
Gareth Bale confirmed that he would not hesitate to take another penalty despite the Wales captain’s spectacular failure against Turkey on Wednesday and said they had identified weaknesses in the Italian ranks. Page said Wales would have to “suffer” because of Italy’s front foot style.
“Italy plays very offensive football and they don’t concede too many,” Bale said. “They are a very well equipped and complete team, but that does not mean that they do not have weaknesses. We’ve done our homework, we’ve worked on some things, and we definitely feel like there are areas we can exploit. Hopefully the plan goes perfectly. “
Page reserved special praise for Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who opened the scoring against Turkey. “He’s really looking forward to the game,” Page said. “I think Aaron has been outstanding. We’ve used examples in the analysis room of him tracking and tackling the 18-yard box.
“It has gone to another level for me, considering that he has not played for Juventus as much as he would have liked. He has come in and we have brought him to a level of fitness where he has delivered two levels of performance from a physical as well as a tactical point of view. “
Italy have scored 31 unanswered goals in their last 10 matches and are one game away from surpassing their all-time unbeaten record. If they lead the group, they will set a date at Wembley against the Group C runners-up, probably Austria or Ukraine, next Saturday.
His coach, Roberto Mancini, when asked if Italy had played the best football at Euro 2020, joked: “I don’t know if we necessarily play the best football. But we’re a bunch of good-looking guys, sure. “Telling him of Mancini’s comments, Page responded,” Don’t hesitate, when you see him dressed on the sideline. [He] I am ashamed of my tracksuit ”.
Mancini said his team, which achieved a 3-0 victory over Turkey and Switzerland, expected a physical competition. “Wales are a very difficult team to face because they have been up there in the FIFA world rankings for several years,” he said.
“That shows that they have quality players. It is a British team and has a lot of physicality. They have already reached the quarterfinals in the previous championship. [Euro 2016]. “
Mancini smiled when asked if playing Wales, whose team includes three players who participated at Stoke last season, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Adam Davies and Joe Allen, would remind him of challenging trips to Staffordshire with Manchester City, to who directed for four years. Mancini failed to win a Premier League match at Stoke in four attempts and lost an FA Cup fifth-round tie in 2010.
“Stoke was a tough place to go,” he said. “Stoke had a very tough style of play, he was a tough nut to crack. But Wales have players like Allen, Bale, [Daniel] James: Skilful and quality players, so it will be a difficult match from a physical perspective. Wales is not only technical, but powerful. “
Page said he expected Italy to make four or five changes, with Andrea Belotti and Federico Chiesa set to renew their offensive triumvirate, and Paris Saint-German midfielder Marco Verratti could make his first appearance in the tournament having missed the first two games with a knee injury. Italy and Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini is out due to a leg muscle injury.
“It’s our third game in 10 days,” Mancini said. “Some players are tired and this may be the only time to rotate the squad a bit.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism