Giorgio Chiellini assures Italy ‘are ready’ for the Euro 2020 showdown with Austria and ‘a new tournament begins’ with the knockouts, but there was no request to take the knee before kick-off.
The Round of 16 tie kicks off at Wembley Stadium at 20.00 UK time.
“We are ready. The atmosphere in this stadium is wonderful, a new tournament begins and we have to prove what we can do on the pitch,” Chiellini told RAI Sport.
He is not even on the bench due to injury, so sits in the stands with Alessandro Florenzi and Gaetano Castrovilli.
“Austria are a good team, almost all of them play in the Bundesliga. They have a good tempo, intensity and are very good at hurting opponents on the counter-attack.
“We are aware of all that and will try to make the most of any difficulties they might have when defending.”
The semi-finals and Final of Euro 2020 are also due to take place at Wembley Stadium, so Italy hope to return next month.
“The sensations are good, the coach told us to relax and focus on enjoying our football, exactly as we’ve done so far in the competition. I have good memories of this stadium and hope to be back here in a couple of weeks’ time.”
The build-up to the game was dominated by the controversy and confusion over whether Italy would take the knee in a Black Lives Matter protest, after only five did against Wales.
“As far as we know, Austria have not requested a moment to take the knee,” noted Chiellini.
“When another team does decide to request it, we will kneel too out of a sense of sensitivity towards the other team, and try to combat racism with initiatives from the Federation.”
— RaiSport (@RaiSport) June 26, 2021