The delayed 2020 European Championships (Euro 2020) are in full swing, and one team, in particular, stands out from the crowd. Roberto Mancini’s Italy is on fire and looks more than capable of winning what would be their second European Championships title.
Italy has the perfect combination of a water-tight defense, a potent attack, and a squad brimming with confidence. It is baffling the latest Euro 2020 odds at BetUS price Italy as second-favorites to win the competition. France is the favorite despite Didier Deschamps’ men not yet confirming their spot in the next round at the time of writing.
Italy Bulldozes Through Group A
The Italians made short work of their Group A opponents. Their opening fixture saw them take to the pitch against Turkey, a team who many pundits predicted would be the dark horse of Euro 2020.
Turkey was extremely disappointing, only registering a single shot at goal (it was off target), but the Italians were clinical. They ran out worthy 3-0 winners, although they could have scored five or six.
Switzerland was the next victim of the in-form Italians. Swiss teams are notoriously difficult to break down because they focus on defense first and attacking later. The Swiss managed to marshall the Azzurri quite well yet still fell to a damaging 3-0 defeat.
Italy finished top of Group A with a 100% record after beating Wales 1-0. Mancini made eight changes to the side that demolished Switzerland, which showed the Italian’s strength in depth. Wales shot themselves in the foot when Ethan Ampadu was sent off on 55 minutes, but Italy was already a goal to the good by this stage anyway.
Italy Unbeaten in 30 Consecutive Matches
Experts talk about potential champions going into knockout stages of competitions needing momentum. Winning games breeds confidence, and that confidence leads to players taking to the pitch with no pressure on their shoulders.
Italy has the most momentum of any team in Euro 2020. The four-time World Cup winners are unbeaten in their previous 30 international fixtures, a run that goes back to September 2018 when Italy lost 1-0 to Portugal in the Nations League. This unbelievable run is the joint longest in the country’s history, matching the run set between 1935 and 1939.
An impenetrable defense is one of the main reasons for Italy’s recent success. They have gone 11 games without conceding a single goal, the second-longest run in their history. Talismanic defender Giorgio Chiellini suffered a tournament-ending hamstring injury against Switzerland, but the Italians were still rock solid without him pulling strings at the back.
Austria Await in the Round of 16
Austria is the team drawn to play Italy in what is the second Round of 16 fixture of the competition. It is difficult, almost impossible, to see the Austrian causing an upset at this stage of the competition.
The Austrians are not a strong side. Until they defeated Ukraine 1-0 in their final Group C game, Austria’s only victories in their previous eight games came against the lowly Faroe Islands and North Macedonia.
Even with Marko Arnautovic leading the attack, Austria’s frontline is toothless, which does not bode well for them as they face one of the best defenses in world football. Thirteen goals conceded in their previous ten fixtures shows weakness at the back, too.
Italy should brush Austria aside without a second thought, especially after resting eight key players against Wales, including forward Ciro Immobile, who has three goals in his last three appearances in an Italian shirt.
Should Italy beat Austria as expected, a quarter-finals battle against Belgium looks their most likely route to the final. Belgium takes on the third-place finisher from either Group A, D, E, or F on June 27. Roberto Martinez’s Belgium will represent Italy’s most formidable challenge since they embarked on their fantastic run, but the Belgians allow more than their fair share of chances even though they are ranked number one in the world.
Exciting times are ahead if you are a supporter of Italy.