Three and easy but Italy boss rejects favorites tag

Sports | AGENCIES 18 Jun 2021

Italy coach Roberto Mancini says France, Portugal and Belgium should be considered as favorites for Euro 2020 ahead of his side after the Azzurri recorded their second consecutive 3-0 win at the tournament against Switzerland in Rome.

Manuel Locatelli scored either side of the break and Ciro Immobile added a late third as the Italians became the first team to reach the knockout stages after stretching their unbeaten run to 29 games in all competitions.

The manner of their victory, which followed an equally dominant dismantling of Turkey in Group A, has raised hopes among Italy fans that they could go all the way this summer.

"France, Portugal and Belgium are all at the Euros," Mancini said. "One is the world champion, one is the European champion and the other is ranked No 1 in the world. These are teams that have been built over years and are further along than us in development. But anything can happen in football."

In the other Group A game in Baku, Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts fired Wales to a 2-0 win over Turkey, leaving them second behind Italy and in a "great position" to reach the last 16.

"If you'd have offered us four points at the start we would've bitten your hand off," said captain Gareth Bale, who missed a second-half penalty but assisted on both Wales goals. "We fought hard, we worked our socks off. I missed the penalty but I showed good character and feel I helped the team keep going."

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