Euro 2020 team profile: Group A – Italy and Wales

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READ: The amazing 10 European Championship moments of all time

ITALY

italy national football team

Coach: Roberto Mancini (Italian)

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Captain: Giorgio Chiellini

Most capped player: Gianluigi Buffon (176)

Top scorer: Luigi Riva (35)

European Championship appearances: 9 (first in 1968)

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Best run: Champions (1968)

Group A rivals: Switzerland, Turkey, Wales.

Key players: Giorgio Chiellini, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa.

Status: Rejuvenated under new head coach, Roberto Mancini. Made it to this year’s Euros by winning their qualifying group.

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Not quite the vintage Italian team that sent waves across the world of football in the 90s, but they look a better side nowadays under a new coach. They should give the usual suspects a good push.

Verdict: Reach the semi-final at least.

READ: Euro 2020 team profile: Group A – Turkey and Switzerland


WALES 

wales national football team

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Head coach: Ryan Giggs; Rob Page (caretaker)

Captain: Gareth Bale

Most capped player: Chris Gunter (100)

Top scorer: Gareth Bale (33)

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FIFA ranking: 17

European Championship appearances: 2 (first in 2016)

Best run: Semi final (2016)

Group rivals: Italy, Switzerland, and Turkey

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Key players: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Daniel James, Chris Gunter, Wayne Hennessey.

Status: Wales has experienced a tremendous rise in football. In 2015, it recorded the biggest rise in the history of FIFA ranking when it rose from 117 to 8 in 2015. 

The national team would go on to make a first-ever appearance in the Euros (in any major tournament whatsoever) in 2016 and embark on a fairytale journey. 

They lost to eventual winners, a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal, 2-0 to put an end to a brilliant run which saw them eliminate Belgium on the way. 

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Since that tournament, they’ve managed to carve a reputation for themselves, also rubbing shoulders with the big boys in the top half of the FIFA ranking.

Verdict: All I can say is write Wales off at your peril.