Italy want to win Euro 2020, says Belotti

By Sports Desk June 14, 2021

Italy forward Andrea Belotti said winning Euro 2020 is the aim for the Azzurri following their winning start.

Roberto Mancini's Italy opened the rescheduled European Championship with a commanding 3-0 victory over Turkey in Rome on Friday.

Italy – enjoying a resurgence under head coach Mancini following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup – are in the midst of a 28-match unbeaten streak as they prepare for Wednesday's clash with Switzerland in the Italian capital.

The 1968 European champions have kept a clean sheet in each of their last nine matches in all competitions, going 875 minutes without conceding since a Donny van de Beek goal for the Netherlands last October – Italy have not kept 10 consecutive clean sheets since doing so between November 1989 and June 1990.

"We believe in it, that's our target, we hit rock bottom by not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and now we want to win this competition," Torino's Belotti told UEFA.com.

"We know we can do it, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and work together, focused on the target, in every game. That's the only way we can reach the final."

Italy have lost only one of their 24 games against Switzerland on Italian soil (W18 D5) – a friendly defeat at the Stadio Olimpico in 1982, in what was the country's first game after being crowned world champions three months prior.

Victory will see Italy become the first team to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2020. However, the Italians have won both of their opening two matches in just two of their nine previous appearances at the European Championship, doing so in 2000 and 2016.

"There is a great sense of belonging, we all know how important this shirt is and how important it is to do well after hitting rock bottom by not qualifying for the World Cup," Belotti added.

"We know which one is our duty and we also have a great desire for redemption, that's why we always want to give something more.

"We know that we are all important, regardless if we start on the bench. The games last 90 minutes and anything can happen."

Related items

  • 'Good things are coming' – Messi looking forward as PSG celebrate Mbappe decision 'Good things are coming' – Messi looking forward as PSG celebrate Mbappe decision

    Lionel Messi believes "good things are coming" after ending his first season at Paris Saint-Germain with a 5-0 win over Metz, as the Parisians celebrate Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with the club.

    But while highlighting his delight at helping the club to their 10th Ligue 1 title, Messi also recalled the "bitter taste" of March's Champions League elimination against Real Madrid, a tie in which he still believes PSG were the better team.

    Messi recorded an assist as PSG rounded off their season by thrashing Metz, with the Argentine ending his first campaign at the club with 25 goal contributions in 34 appearances across all competitions (11 goals, 14 assists).

    The 34-year-old's first season in France has not gone entirely to plan, however, with the Parisians squandering a two-goal lead in their 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Los Blancos in March.

    That collapse led to both Messi and Neymar being jeered by their own supporters in subsequent matches, while head coach Mauricio Pochettino has come under increasing pressure after his failure to deliver PSG their first European crown.

    Nevertheless, a celebratory mood surrounded PSG after Saturday's announcement that Messi's strike partner Mbappe had agreed a three-year contract extension with the club.

    The 23-year-old, who was heavily linked with a blockbuster move to Madrid, celebrated his new deal with a hat-trick that take him to 45 Ligue 1 goal contributions for the season (28 goals, 17 assists) – the highest tally across Europe's top five leagues this term.

    Reflecting on a mixed first season in Paris, Messi expressed his belief that the club was on course for better things next term.

    "The season is over, and I wanted to thank my teammates for how they treated me since I arrived and my family for always accompanying me and supporting me," Messi wrote on Instagram, alongside an image of him celebrating with team-mates Mbappe, Neymar, and Marco Verratti. 

    "It was a different year because of everything that happened, but at the end of it all we achieved a league that I was very excited to achieve, because of what it means to be the first trophy here in Paris.

    "We are left with the bitter taste of losing in the Champions League in a tie that we were being better [in], and at the same time, I want to be left with the joy of having added another title that was also one of the objectives.

    "Surely good things are coming in 2022; it will be an important year, and we are going to fight to be competing with ambition for everything."

  • Lewandowski had his head turned by his agent, says Bayern director Salihamidzic Lewandowski had his head turned by his agent, says Bayern director Salihamidzic

    Wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has had his head turned by his agent, according to the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

    Lewandowski last week confirmed that he has informed Bayern he will not be extending his contract beyond the end of next season when it is due to expire.

    The Poland international stated after the final game of the season against Wolfsburg that he had not received a proposal for new terms.

    However, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn insisted on Saturday that was not the case, with a "concrete offer" being tabled to his agent.

    Salihamidzic has now accused Lewandowski's representative of talking his client into a move away from the Allianz Arena, where he has spent the past eight seasons.

    "He got an offer. I don't know what the agent said to his player, but we definitely made an offer," Salihamidzic told Sport1 on Sunday.

    "We had a conversation with the consultant and said very clearly how we imagined the future, with a very clear sum and terms.

    "He has an advisor who has turned his head and has turned it all year round. It's not clean."

    Reiterating earlier comments made by Kahn, Salihamidzic vowed Bayern will not look to sell Barcelona-linked Lewandowski in the upcoming transfer window.

    "Robert has a contract until 2023 and he will fulfil it," he said. "We have the greatest respect for Lewy. FC Bayern have always behaved correctly."

    Lewandowski has scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions this season, making him the top scorer among players from Europe's top five leagues.

    That is the second-most the 33-year-old has managed across his eight years in Bavaria, behind the 55 he netted in 2019-10.

    While questions will inevitably continue to be asked about Lewandowski's future, Manuel Neuer looks set to extend his stay with Bayern.

    Like Lewandowski, the Germany international's contract has just over 12 months left to run, but he is reported to have been offered a one-year extension on top of that.

    "I'm very optimistic. Manuel is one of the keys to success," Salihamidzic said. "Please be patient, but we're on the right track. We're on the home stretch."

  • French Open: Linette claims Jabeur scalp in Paris French Open: Linette claims Jabeur scalp in Paris

    Ons Jabeur was the first big-name casualty at the French Open as Magda Linette produced a shock on day one.

    Jabeur arrived at Roland Garros with the expectation she would be one of the most likely to challenge strong favourite Iga Swiatek, but Linette consigned the sixth seed to a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 defeat on Sunday.

    Battling Tunisian Jabeur won her maiden WTA 1000 title at the Madrid Open this month and had reached the final of three of the four tournaments she has played on clay this season.

    The 27-year-old also started the Paris major with a tour-leading 17-3 record on this surface in 2022, but she was unable to get the better of the world number 56.

    Linette was broken three times in the first set, but fought back from 3-1 down in a second-set tie-break to take Jabeur the distance.

    It appeared a final-set tie-break would be on the cards in the opening match on Court Philippe-Chatrier, but Linette had other ideas.

    The Pole - who struck 32 winners - decisively broke for a third time when Jabeur was serving to stay in the match to claim her first top-10 scalp of the season, setting up a second-round meeting with Martina Trevisan or Harriet Dart.

    A junior French Open champion in 2011, Jabeur must lick her wounds after 47 unforced errors to fall at the first hurdle.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.