Roberto Mancini insists Italy ‘deserved it’ against Austria and should’ve scored before going to extra time, but this Round of 16 test will be ‘tougher probably than the quarter-final.’
The Azzurri needed extra time to get the better of Austria and lost their clean sheet record after 11 consecutive games, but substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina made the difference in a 2-1 victory.
Italy also set a new all-time record of 31 games unbeaten in a row and will face the winners of Belgium vs. Portugal in the quarter-final.
“We brought it home because we deserved it, even though we conceded on a corner and had to let one in sooner or later,” Mancini told RAI Sport.
“We frankly should’ve scored the two goals a lot earlier and not gone to extra time, and we got tired as it wore on, but we won deservedly.
“The players who came off the bench had the right mentality and stepped straight into the match to change the game. Those who came on were extraordinary after those who came off had already given everything they had.
“I knew this was going to be tough, probably tougher than the quarter-final. Games can take the wrong bent, but we played well and deserved it.
“This test can do us good, we had to show a strong mentality.”
Mancini hugged Gianluca Vialli, having lost the European Cup Final at Wembley for Sampdoria against Barcelona. Can they make up for it here in the Euro 2020 Final?
“There are three games to go before we can come back to Wembley.”
Mancio was asked who he’d prefer to face between Belgium and Portugal in the quarter-final.
“They are two extraordinary teams, so it’s difficult to choose.”