Italy are unbeaten in 29 games and have won their last 10 games, but former England international Gary Neville is not convinced. ‘I feel they’ll fall short’.
Roberto Mancini’s men have started Euro 2020 with two 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland, but the former Manchester United full-back believes the real tests are yet to come for the Azzurri.
“The biggest problem for Italy,” Neville told ITV, “could be that they’re not going to be tested. I mean maybe that game against Wales, you could argue because they’re through that they might play a weakened team, but they might actually want to play their best team, because the two games they’ve had so far, haven’t been a test for them.
“You look at Switzerland there, they’re not getting out, walking out of the box, the ball goes back, it’s embarrassing. Show some urgency, get out, close the space. I have to say, what Italy do really well, they make good runs… But they were so superior tonight, they obviously deserved to win.”
Neville was not impressed with Vladimir Petkovic’s men and slammed Switzerland’s performance in the second round.
“Yeah that [lack of intensity] would probably be an understatement,” Neville continued. “The one thing you want from your team…
“I’ll forgive a lot of things on the football pitch but [not] for players not to show that intensity. We saw that with the last goal.
“Great example from Italy there of all their quality play, work-rate and desire. Switzerland giving up the fight. Yeah, pretty annoyed with it, I have to say.”
“Even the second and third goal, sometimes people think you have the bodies back. But it’s no good having the bodies back unless you engage, especially when you smell danger. It’s just that lack of intensity and almost laziness with their attitude, especially with the last goal.”
Italy have kept 10 straight clean sheets, whilst Manuel Locatelli’s brace and Ciro Immobile’s late strike means they have scored 31 times in the process.
But World Cup and European Championship winner Patrick Vieira said Italy lack ‘intensity, power and pace’ and Neville agrees with the former Inter and Juventus midfielder.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They’re achieving the maximum. They’re the opposite of Switzerland.
“They all work really hard, they all know their jobs, they’re well-drilled. I agree with Patrick [Vieira] – I feel they’ll fall short.
“I know they’re getting a lot of plaudits at the start of the tournament with their first two performances, they’ve done everything that’s been asked of them, but I do feel once they start to play against the better teams, they won’t have enough.
“But Mancini has got them right, and they’re a team that you know will give their all, which is absolutely critical.”