Rome (AFP) – Italy forward Federico Chiesa said Friday he expects a battling performance from Wales stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey as the Azzurri look to extend their 10-match winning streak without conceding a goal.
Roberto Mancini’s side play Wales for top spot in Group A in Rome, after 3-0 wins over both Turkey and Switzerland put them through to the last 16.
Italy are unbeaten since September 2018 and on Sunday Mancini could match Italy’s two-time World Cup-winning coach Vittorio Pozzo’s record of 30 games unbeaten between 1935 and 1939.
“Wales is a team that will certainly fight. They have influential players at international level, above all Gareth Bale,” said Chiesa, who was also wary of Juventus teammate Aaron Ramsey.
“Ramsey too. He’s an above average player, very intelligent. Technically strong, I appreciated him both off and on the pitch at Juventus.”
Wales have four points from their two games in Baku and another draw would ensure progress to the last 16, while a win would put them top of Group A.
“There is energy, electricity and the credit goes to Mancini,” said Chiesa, speaking at the team’s training base outside Florence.
“The fans are right to dream and we’re with them. We are here to go all the way, to crown this great dream.”
Chiesa has yet to start for Italy in the group stage.
“Obviously we always hope to play, but I accept the decisions of the coach and I am ready when he decides to utilise me,” said the 23-year-old.
“We are all starters and the coach wants us to be ready at all times.”
Chiesa hit top form at Juventus after joining on loan from Fiorentina last September, scoring 14 goals in 43 games for the Turin giants, including four in the Champions League.
However for the national side he has scored just once in 27 matches over three years.
“It’s true, with Italy there is room for improvement, but by continuing on this path everything will come,” he warned.
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