Italy will face Spain in the European Under-21 Championship Final and Coach Devis Mangia notes “we only need to take one last step.”
The Azzurrini set up Tuesday’s showdown in Jerusalem at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT) thanks to a 1-0 semi-final victory over Holland last night.
“This is the result of two years’ work,” Mangia told uefa.com.
“Spain are playing the best football and the results show this. They deserve all the compliments they are getting and they’ll be the favourites for the Final.
“I don’t mind if they are the favourites, because I know on June 18 there will be a green pitch, 11 players, a ball in the middle and we will start at 0-0.
“When we started the tournament I said to the players to take it step by step. Now we only need to take one last step. Besides my players I want to thank others around me. The physios, doctors and general staff working around me work in the best way and do their best for the team.”
It was a struggle to get past Holland, who hit the woodwork in the first half, as Fabio Borini snatched a late winner.
“We suffered in the first half by giving them too much space. We wanted to attack the Netherlands, who clearly changed their usual system of playing, with a midfielder in front of the defence,” explained Mangia.
“This strategy put us in a bit trouble. We couldn’t find time to play and press the ball. In the second half there was less pressure, the team’s passing was shorter and we only risked on crosses and set pieces.
“We have played good football during the whole tournament. Even in the first half we showed that we could overcome some difficulties.
“The best thing about my team is that even if we are doing well in terms of strength and tactics, we also we have the mental strength too.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!