Bale warns Wales ‘can hurt’ Italy in Rome

Rome (AFP) – Captain Gareth Bale warned that Wales can pull off an upset and hurt hosts Italy in their final Euro 2020 Group A game in Rome on Sunday.

“We have a game plan that we think can hurt them,” said the Real Madrid star.

Italy are already through to the last 16, while Wales need a draw to make sure of progressing to the next round and a win would put them through in pole position ahead of the Azzurri.

“It’s going to be a big challenge. We have no doubt even if that record wasn’t there,” said Bale of the Italians who are unbeaten in 29 consecutive games.

Italy have won 10 straight games, all without conceding a goal.

“It would be a fantastic result for us…(to) win the group and be at Wembley which would be great for the Wales fans.”

Wales have played both games so far in Baku, where they were held 1-1 by Switzerland but beat Turkey 2-0 in midweek.

Bale missed a penalty against Turkey but said he would be happy to step up again against Italy if needed.

“I’m happy to take penalties. It’s a decision the manager has to make. If I’m asked to step up again I’ll have no problem.”

Wales coach Robert Page expects Wales to suffer but insists they would not limp over the line.

“We want to qualify in style and get where we deserve which in my opinion is the top two,” he said.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini believes Wales will be tough opponents and the former Manchester City manager even compared them to English Championship outfit Stoke City.

“Stoke had a very tough style of play, they were a very tough nut to crack,” Mancini said.

“It will be a very difficult match from a physical perspective because they are a powerful side like Stoke, but they are also very technical.

“Wales have players like (Joe) Allen, (Gareth) Bale and (Daniel) James. They have got some quality and skilful players.”

Bale said: “I never knew Stoke were that good.”

“We’re not bothered what anyone else says,” added Page. 

“We’re fully focused on what we can do and how we can hurt teams.”

Italy beat Turkey and Switzerland, both by a 3-0 margin, but Mancini believes France remain favourites to win the tournament despite them drawing with Hungary on Saturday.

“The fact that France drew with Hungary changes absolutely nothing,” he insisted.

“France probably remains the favourite for the Euro, because they are world champions, with a young team which continues to improve.”

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