Italy’s unbeaten streak won’t last forever, and Austria coach Franco Foda is plotting to be the one to stop it.
The Italians have become one of the favorites at the European Championship after winning all three of their games in the group stage, scoring seven goals and conceding none. Those three victories at Euro 2020 extended the team’s unbeaten streak under coach Roberto Mancini to 30 games — matching the previous record set in the 1930s.
“Initially it seemed to be an insurmountable and impossible challenge for us, because they haven’t lost for an eternity,” Foda said. “But sooner or later even Mancini’s team will lose.”
Austria, which has reached the round of 16 at the tournament for the first time, will get its chance on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
“The team achieved something spectacular. We are in the round of 16 and now we want to put everything to take the next step to make it into the quarterfinals,” Foda said Friday. “We have lots of confidence … we’re focused and prepared very well for this upcoming match against Italy.”
Besides the unbeaten streak, Italy will also be trying to set another record. The team has not conceded a goal in 11 matches, a total of 1,055 minutes. If Austria fails to score, Italy will surpass the record of 1,143 minutes set between 1972 and 1974.
For a team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy’s recent results are quite remarkable.
“It’s something that makes us proud, especially considering what they thought of us before the tournament started,” Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne said. “But we have to stay focused, calm and think about ourselves. We haven’t done anything yet. Our objective is to go all the way, it wasn’t just to get through the group stage.”