London (AFP) – Roberto Mancini said that his Italy team deserved to be in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 despite struggling to beat battling Austria 2-1 at Wembley in a match that went to extra-time.
Italy had strolled through the group stages at the Euro and were expected to easily beat the Austrians but had to wait until five minutes into the added half an hour to take the lead through Federico Chiesa.
Matteo Pessina made sure that the Azzurri would make last eight but Austria pulled one back through Sasa Kalajdzic to keep the tie in the balance until the final whistle.
“We got the result because we deserved it. In the first half we could have scored a couple of goals and then after the break we dropped off physically,” Mancini told Italy’s public broadcaster RAI.
“We won thanks to the players who came on with the right mindset and resolved the situation.
“I knew it would be hard, maybe even more so than in the quarter-finals.”
The win means that Mancini has guided Italy to 31 matches unbeaten, breaking a record that had been established by Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s.
Italy will play either Belgium or Portugal in Munich on July 2, with the reigning European champions and the world’s top-ranked team facing off on Sunday in Seville.
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