Italy’s last training ahead of Austria clash
Watch the last training of Italy ahead of the match against Austria.
Italy vs Austria: Line-ups
Tough Mountain for Austria to Climb
Yet to concede a goal in the competition, a clearly united squad – in which even substitute goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has been awarded a handful of minutes – have not only proved an entertaining prospect for neutrals, but also shown they are made of stern stuff at the back. In fact, the last time Italy failed to keep a clean sheet was in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands last October – over 1,000 minutes of football ago.
The four-time world champions have now reached 10straight wins for only the second time in their illustrious history – the first such streak having come during qualifying – and have not lost at all since 2018, so are in pole position to sweep past their Alpine counterparts.
With the odds already stacked against them due to a gulf in world ranking and historic stature, Austria will potentially tackle their first-ever knockout fixture in European Championship history with few partisan fans present at ‘the home of football’. Earlier this week, their football federation urged supporters not to travel to London for the clash with Italy, after they unsuccessfully attempted to have the match moved from England due to health and safety concerns.
Franco Foda now leads his adopted nation into a tantalising last-16 encounter, still seeking to offer his star man David Alaba a settled role in the side. Wherever he plays, the Real Madrid-bound 29-year-old – known for his versatility which has seen him play at left-back, in central midfield and on either flank – will be essential to his country’s hopes of causing a seismic upset.
Having tasted Wembley glory once before in 2013, when Bayern beat Dortmund there in the Champions League final, Alaba’s presence may even be enough to keep the Austrian dream alive.
Undoubtedly, the impetus will be on Italy to create chances and dictate the tempo against obdurate opponents, but they are well versed at probing patiently and then striking with clinical accuracy. Even if Austria can thwart them for the first hour or so, the Azzurri can turn to the likes of pacy winger Federico Chiesa to make the difference from the bench, so should seal progress in the end.