Italy may have finished the group stages with a disappointing defeat against Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2016, but manager Antonio Conte remains confident about making it into the next stages by beating Spain in the last 16.
This will be one of the high-profile matches in the last 16 of the Euro 2016. Even though Italy suffered a defeat in the final group match, they managed to finish top of the group which also contained teams like Finland and Belgium. As a result, the 2006 World Cup winners remain on course to reach the final stages of the competition.
Getting past Spain will be a major achievement, as it means knocking out the holders. Spain have been crowned as the European Championship winners for the last two times and they certainly are less strong than in the last decade. Even then, they have managed to progress into the last 16 round of the competition but only just. After starting the tournament with a narrow win over Czech Republic, the team managed to win comfortably against Turkey. The disappointing form returned in the final group match following a 2-1 loss against Croatia. This loss also meant that the team was unable to finish top of the group.
“The players are doing everything they have to. They are working very hard and we have to keep grafting. We must not have any anxiety.The first aim was to get into the last 16.Now we have a match against one of the favourites but let’s not forget where we started from.We mustn’t get above our station. A last-16 match against Spain should excite us and we need to play like we did against Belgium, against a side who are supposedly superior,” said Conte, who is aware that the team needs to keep its feet on the ground.