Italian Marco Verratti praises England and expects Euro 2020 final at Wembley to be ‘epic’ | football news
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti said Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against England at Wembley will be “an epic”.
Verratti felt England deserved to beat Denmark in the semi-finals on Wednesday, although Raheem Sterling’s penalty was “a bit generous”.
England were awarded the penalty in overtime from Wednesday’s match at Wembley after Joachim Mahle was sentenced for a foul on Sterling.
Harry Kane then saw his effort from 12 yards saved by Kasper Schmeichel before rebounding what proved to be the winner as Gareth Southgate’s men won 2-1 to set up Sunday’s final against the Italians at the same venue.
Asked about the penalty incident at Thursday’s press conference, Verratti said: “Maybe it was a bit generous penalty, but it’s part of the picture in football. I think it was a bit generous penalty.
“I think England did a great job. They reached the final for the first time and that says a lot.
“They only conceded one goal, so it’s a very strong team, great players, very balanced and I think they deserved to reach the final. Now it all comes back to the final, which I think will be an epic final, history-making either way.
“England is a very physical team, and they have highly skilled players as well. We will face a very difficult team, they will play at home, and they know the pitch well. But it is a dream for us. To win this European Championship.
“The fans will certainly take it in some way, but we are all professional players, we know what it is to play in stadiums full of fans, and in a way that will lead us too. We will be happy with that too – it’s great to play in a crowded stadium.
“I think the Italy-England match is always a big match. There will only be one winner and I hope it’s us. We’ll give it our best.”
“Private Mancini has done a huge job for Italy”
Italy is managed by Roberto Mancini, the former Manchester City coach, who took over the Italian national team in 2018 and went on to oversee 33 matches unbeaten.
Verratti said: “I think Mancini has done a huge job.
“He did well wherever he was. He was criticized, sure, but again, that’s part of the picture. If you don’t win, you end up receiving criticism, and that goes for everyone, it’s perfectly normal in football results matter. Paramount, and when you’re not winning, it’s easier to criticize the manager than the whole team.
“He did a great job with us, everyone can see. He’s a very special coach for us, he boosted our confidence when we lost it due to the negative results of the past. I think he was the perfect man for the job.”
“He brought back our enthusiasm, with a style that we really enjoyed. We haven’t lost in 33 games – that’s an important stat, and telling you he’s doing a great job. Sometimes one might say the coaches aren’t very important, but for us it’s really an added value.”