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Euro 2020: Italy vs. Austria match preview- team news, lineups

Sat 26 June 2021 | 11:00

Italy enters Today's round of 16 tie against Austria as one of the Euro 2020 favorites. Follow along for Italy vs. Austria live stream online, prediction, lineups preview and score updates of the Euro 2020.

As one of the tournament favorites,

Italy

lock horns with Austria at Wembley on Saturday, in the last 16 of Euro 2020. The Azzuri topped Group A with three emphatic victories, while Austria finished second in Group C with two wins and a loss.

Roberto Mancini's men have won 11 consecutive games. Austria, on the other hand, is unbeaten in nine of its last 12 contests. While Italy’s sparkling start to the championships has continued a record-equaling unbeaten run, the Austrians are into the knockout phase for the first time ever, after finally ending their Euros drought with two group-stage wins.

This is the first major tournament in which

Austria

have progressed beyond the initial group stage since the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, when they reached the second stage. Both sides are intent on reaching the quarterfinals and cannot afford a defeat in this match.

Italy vs. Austria match preview

Italy recorded three wins and three clean sheets in the group stage and now take on Austria, who are in the knockout rounds for the first time.

Italy

Living up to expectations is Italy's most difficult task heading into the next stage of this summer's European Championships, as an 11th win in a row last time out helped them extend their undefeated run to a total of 30 matches. Tying a national record set back in the 1930s under legendary coach Vittorio Pozzo, the 1-0 victory over

Wales

was scant reward for their shadow side's complete domination last Sunday.

Roberto Mancini managed to keep his team's momentum going despite wholesale changes - with eight of the previous starting XI dropping out - to claim maximum points once again, following back-to-back 3-0 victories over Turkey and

Switzerland

.

However, their prize for advancing as winners of Group A is a place in the more challenging side of the draw, as they will face Belgium or Portugal in the next round in case they progress, and then potentially France, Spain, or Croatia in a semi-final.

They will travel north in the knowledge that no Italian team has lost to their neighbors since 1960, and they have emerged as winners in each of the nations' four major tournament meetings.

Yet to concede a goal in the competition, a clearly united squad, in which even substitute goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has been awarded a handful of minutes, have not only proved an entertaining prospect for neutrals, but also shown they are made of stern stuff at the back. In fact, the last time Italy failed to keep a clean sheet was in a 1-1 draw with the

Netherlands

last October.

The four-time world champions have now reached ten straight wins for only the second time in their illustrious history - the first such streak having come during qualifying - and have not lost at all since 2018, so are in pole position to sweep past their Alpine counterparts this weekend.

Austria

Austria will potentially tackle their first-ever knockout fixture in European Championship history with few fans present at 'the home of football'.

Earlier this week, their football federation urged supporters not to travel to London for the clash with Italy, after they unsuccessfully attempted to have the match moved from England due to health and safety concerns.

As there is a quarantine requirement for Austrians travelling to and from London, the prospect of Das Team being roared on by thousands of success-starved fans may be diminished, but they will at least arrive there having risen to the challenge of escaping Group C by beating

Ukraine

last time out.

While Austria would still have qualified along with their opponents had they drawn, in the end they deserved to win by more than just Christoph Baumgartner's first-half goal, which left coach Franco Foda enthused about his team's unprecedented achievement.

After the match, Foda noted that his squad had been determined to write history and progress through the first stage of any major tournament for the first time since their notorious 1982 World Cup campaign.

In fact, the former West Germany international has hardly taken a wrong step while at the helm; guiding the Austrians to League A promotion in the Nations League and through the Euro 2020 qualifiers since his appointment at the start of 2018.

The Mainz-born player now leads his adopted nation into an exciting last-16 encounter, still seeking to offer his star man David Alaba a settled role in the side.

Wherever he plays, the

Real Madrid

-bound 29-year-old, who is known for his versatility which has seen him play at left-back, in central midfield and on either flank, will be essential to his country's hopes of winning on Saturday evening.

Having tasted Wembley glory once before in 2013, when Bayern beat Dortmund there in the Champions League final, the captain's presence may even be enough to keep the Austrian dream alive.

Form analysis

Italy have maintained an impressive run without conceding, however, their defensive plans are again likely to be disrupted by injury on Saturday, as captain

Giorgio Chiellini

trained separately from the rest of the squad during the week. Full-back Alessandro Florenzi could only undertake individual gym work, so neither man may be fit to face Austria.

Therefore, either Giovanni Di Lorenzo or Atalanta's Rafael Toloi will start on the right side of a back four, with either Alessandro Bastoni or Francesco Acerbi joining Leonardo Bonucci in the centre.

Roberto Mancini also has a selection dilemma in midfield, as

Marco Verratti

confirmed his recovery from an ongoing knee issue in the win over Wales, but in-demand Sassuolo man Manuel Locatelli previously starred in the first two matches. Only one can start in the central triumvirate, alongside certain selections Jorginho and Nicolo Barella.

Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi, and Lorenzo Insigne are the favored three, though Federico Chiesa was named UEFA's 'Star of the Match' against Wales and will at least expect to be offered a run-out in the second half.

Italy possible starting lineup:

Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bonucci, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne

Austria's lineup is far from certain, after coach Franco Foda successfully ditched his previous back three against Ukraine, allowing

David Alaba

to get forward more from left-back.

Their 4-2-3-1 formation in Bucharest also saw controversial striker

Marko Arnautovic

recalled after serving a one-match ban for insulting another player, but it remains to be seen whether they will be brave enough to persist with a more adventurous formation.

Christoph Baumgartner, Julian Baumgartlinger, Martin Hinteregger and Valentino Lazaro are all injury doubts ahead of the trip to England, so Foda could alternatively choose to bring Stefan Ilsanker into the XI; switching back to a three-man rearguard, with Alaba returning to central defense.

Austria possible starting lineup: Bachmann; Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba; Laimer, Grillitsch, X. Schlager; Sabitzer, Baumgartner; Arnautovic

Italy vs. Austria - Head-to-head in all competitions

Italy have a predictably good record against Austria and have won 16 matches out of a total of 35 games played between the two teams. Austria have managed 11 victories against Italy and can potentially trouble their opponents in this fixture.

The previous meeting between the two teams took place nearly 13 years ago and ended in a hard-fought 2-2 draw. Italy have transformed into a different side from the Azzurri teams of yore and will need to make a statement in this match.

Prediction

Undoubtedly, the impetus will be on Italy to create chances and dictate the tempo against their opponents, but they are well versed at probing patiently and then striking with clinical accuracy.

Even if Austria can thwart them for the first hour or so, the Azzurri can turn to the likes of Federico Chiesa to make the difference from the bench to seal progress in the end.

Italy vs. Austria Referees

Briton Anthony Taylor will referee the Euros last 16 game between Italy and Austria at Wembely on Saturday, UEFA said Thursday.

The 42-year-old referee Taylor has already appeared twice at the Euros this summer, overseeing Denmark vs. Finland and Portugal vs. Germany in the group stage.

His assistants will be countrymen Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn, while another UK ref, Stuart Atwell, will be on VAR duty. Swiss referee Sandro Schärer has been assigned as the fourth official.

Viewing information

  • Date: Saturday, 26th June

  • Time: 3 p.m. ET, 8pm BST

  • Location: Wembley Stadium

  • TV: BBC One / BBC iPlayer

  • Odds: Italy -225; Draw +333 Austria +700

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