UEFA Euro 2020

Roberto Mancini hails 'extraordinary' Italy following win over Belgium

Jack Gallagher
Mancini's side outplayed Belgium
Mancini's side outplayed Belgium / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Roberto Mancini lavished praise on his Italy team after their 2-1 win over Belgium secured their place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

The Azzurri were irrepressible during the first half on Friday evening, pinning Belgium in their own defensive third for the majority of the 45 minutes and deservedly taking a 2-0 lead courtesy of wonderful goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne.

However, after conceding from the penalty spot in added time at the end of the half, Italy were forced to dig in at times after the interval to hold onto a slender one goal lead.

Mancini's side's ability to both attack with purpose in the first half and then defend resolutely in the second was mightily impressive, and as the manager himself attests, Italy were more than deserving of the win at the Allianz Arena:

"We deserved to win. The players produced an excellent performance. We only suffered in the last 10 minutes and that was because we were really tired, we had given a lot. But we could have scored even more goals", Mancini said to RAI Sport (via Daily Mail) after the game.

The former Manchester City manager also discussed the team's aspirations heading into a blockbuster semi-final clash with Spain.

Spain just about saw off a spirited Switzerland side in the early kick off on Friday, winning 3-1 penalties despite the Swiss playing the whole of extra time with just ten men.

"We're not setting ourselves limits. We want to do the maximum. There's still a long way to go, there are two games left and we will see what happens.

“Let us enjoy this victory, then we can think about Spain. Congratulations to the lads, they did a great job.”

Nicolo Barella
Italy won 2-1 on Friday / Markus Gilliar/Getty Images

After their exceptional performance in the quarter-finals, and having been the most impressive team at the tournament so far, Italy will go into the semi-final clash with Spain as heavy favourites.

The two sides will face off at Wembley on Tuesday 6th July.