France coach Didier Deschamps praises Roberto Mancini, but suggests Italy ‘may lack international experience.’
The Azzurri sealed a 3-0 win over Turkey in the opening game of Euro 2020 on Friday. France coach Deschamps previewed the tournament in an interview with Sportweek that was released before yesterday’s game at the Stadio Olimpico.
France are considered the favourites to win the competition, but the former Juventus midfielder is aware that’s not enough to lift the trophy on July 11.
“You don’t win games before taking the field, quality and talent are not enough. You need mental strength, aggression and determination, all things we had in Russia in 2018. It’s not easy to win, doing it twice is even more complicated. Ambition can’t become excessive trust,” Deschamps said.
“Italy can have the ambition to go far even if maybe many of their single players don’t have much international experience. For many Azzurri, this will be the first big competition, but the same was true of players like Mbappé or Pavard in 2018, so we need to be careful.
“I like Chiesa who had a great season with Juventus, but also Barella. Then they have Immobile and Verratti who are valuable footballers. Mancini has built something interesting, with youths who have improved quickly and obtained important results in the Nations League and the World Cup qualifiers. In addition, Italy lowered their average age, keeping some experienced players.”
The likes of Adrien Rabiot and Mike Maignan are part of the France team at Euro 2020. The Juventus midfielder moved to Turin in 2019, while the goalkeeper has just joined Milan where he will replace Gigio Donnarumma who is set to join PSG as a free agent.
“Rabiot has the usual technical abilities, but he has improved defensively at Juventus. It was important for him to learn the Bianconeri’s mentality with the need of winning every game. Today he is a complete midfielder,” Deschamps said.
“Maignan has great natural qualities. He had a fantastic season with Lille and even if there two important goalkeepers ahead of him in the national team he will be a protagonist in the future. He has strength and it’s hard to find the space to score a goal to him. Going to Milan is never a bad choice.”
France make their Euro 2020 debut on Tuesday, May 15 against Germany. The 2018 World Cup winners were drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Germany, defending champions Portugal and Hungary.