Euro 2020 round of 16: Italy vs. Austria preview, predictions and team news
Can the Austrians end the Azzurri’s long unbeaten run?
After three wins from three in group A Italy have emerged as one of the favourites to win Euro 2020. Roberto Mancini’s team are currently on a 30-match unbeaten run, a national record, and are “arguably the form side in the entire competition”, says The Telegraph.
Mancini has “rekindled Italy’s love for the Azzurri” and he has “recaptured the atmosphere” of the 1990 Fifa World Cup which the country hosted, AFP reports.
Italy now face Austria in the round of 16 at Wembley and midfielder Federico Chiesa says the squad is “ready to dream big”. “We’ve all the options in hand,” the 23-year-old said. “The best is yet to come. It’s great to play at Wembley. But our goal is to return to London after the last 16. We’ve given the coach a lot of headaches about who to field. We have 26 players on the team who can start.”
‘Unbeaten run will end one day’
Austria have reached the Euro knockout stages for the first time and they are in a confident mood ahead of the clash in London. “They [Italy] are on an unbeaten run but it will end one day,” said Austria head coach Franco Foda. “If we can show the same performance we showed [against Ukraine] and even improve, then I think we’re able to compete with Italy.”
Midfielder Christoph Baumgartner, who scored the winner against the Ukraine, declared: “We’ve already written the history, but it’s not over yet.”
Kick-off time and TV details
The Euro 2020 round of 16 clash between Italy and Austria takes place on Saturday 26 June at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Kick-off is at 8pm (BST) and the match is live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Italy team news
Alessandro Florenzi and Giorgio Chiellini are yet to resume full training and could be replaced by Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Francesco Acerbi, says Uefa.com Italy reporter Paolo Menicucci. Marco Verratti was superb on his return to the side against Wales and could vie for the place of Manuel Locatelli.
Italy possible starting XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
Austria team news
Christophe Baumgartner, who was the matchwinner against Ukraine, has recovered from his head collision, says Austria reporter Jordan Maciel of Uefa.com. Martin Hinteregger is carrying a knock but should be fit in time for the match. “Never change a winning team,” Maciel added. “Expect Franco Foda to stick with his trusted XI, but they will need to dig deep after showing signs of exhaustion towards the end of the Ukraine match.”
Austria possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Bachmann; Lainer, Dragović, Hinteregger, Alaba; Laimer, Grillitsch, X. Schlager; Sabitzer, Baumgartner; Arnautović
Pundit predictions: who will win?
Gab Marcotti, ESPN: “Italy are coming off a 30-game unbeaten streak and haven’t conceded in 10 matches, so despite their front-foot approach, they’ve coped well defensively. It’s hard to see that run coming to an end against Austria.”
Mike Tuckerman, The Roar: “Having underperformed in tournament football, Austria did well to finish second in their group. Unfortunately for them they run into a red-hot Italy as their reward. The Azzurri play patient football, which they might need to go through here.”
Alex Young, London Evening Standard: “Italy have surprised many with their ruthlessness in front of goal and I expect that to continue on Saturday evening. The Azzurri will dominate possession and have the ability to punish an Austria side boasting plenty of talent but susceptible to being overrun. Italy 2-0 Austria.”
Abhinav Anand, SportsKeeda: “Italy have been one of the best teams in the competition so far. Roberto Mancini’s men look well organised in all phases of play and will be the favourites to win here. Prediction: Italy 2-0 Austria.”
Telegraph Sport: “Austria possess plenty of talent in their squad but they face an in-form Italian side. Expect Italy to dictate play, dominate possession and find the back of the net at some point in the game. Austria will make it competitive, but Italy are likely to finish Saturday as quarter-finalists. Verdict: Italy 2 Austria 0.”
Steve Luckings, The National: “Italy look like a team with the bit between their teeth. Austria advanced from Group C following wins over North Macedonia and Ukraine, that is likely to be the zenith of their tournament. Hard to see them stopping the Azzurri juggernaut. Prediction: Italy to keep up winning momentum.”