Euro 2020

Mancini: “We wanted to win at all costs, this match will do us good for the future”

Federico Chiesa scores at a European Championship 25 years on from when his father Enrico also did so: “The Coach always tells us that there are 26 starters.” Pessina: “A memory that will remain with me for the rest of my career”

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Mancini: “We wanted to win at all costs, this match will do us good for the future”

Roberto Mancini remembers the last time he went to extra time at Wembley like it was yesterday. It was May 1992 and a Ronald Koeman free kick ended Sampdoria’s hopes in the European Cup final as the Blucerchiati were beaten by Barcelona. Some 30 years later, Mancini is coming away from that famous football ground with qualification to the quarter-finals of the Euros in the bag, following a tense game against Austria, one which went to extra time. “We wanted to win at all costs,” Mancini said after 120 emotion-filled minutes. “We deserved it and this game will do us good for the future. We could’ve scored a couple in the first half and then dropped off a bit physically in the second, also because of the heavy pitch.”

Mancini hopes to return to Wembley in ten days’ time for the semi-final, but first Italy will face the winner of Belgium vs. Portugal in Munich. “We won thanks to the players that were on the bench, who came on in the right frame of mind. We needed fresh players. I knew it would be the most difficult game, maybe even more difficult than the quarters. We were extraordinary.”

25 years on after the goal scored by his father Enrico against the Czech Republic at the 1996 European Championship, Federico Chiesa has now also managed to bag his first in the same competition. For the first time, a son and father can celebrate the achievement of both having netted at the Euros. “We should compliment Austria,” said the Azzurri No.14. “However, we deserved to go through and we’ll enjoy the fact we’ve made it to the quarter-finals. The Coach always tells us that there aren’t just eleven starters, but 26 instead. For the goal, I did well to stay calm, to control the ball and direct it downwards so I could shoot.”

After bagging against Wales to decide the match at the Olimpico, Matteo Pessina has clearly taken a liking to scoring. After coming off the bench this evening, he netted his second – and most important – goal of the tournament: “The fact I scored against Wales still hasn’t quite registered with me yet, let alone this one. It’s a memory that will remain with me for the rest of my career. There was an explosion of emotions. Anyone can score, and this is the great thing about this team. We’re a great group and showing the whole of Italy that this is the case.”