Both Mesut Ozil and Gary Lineker believe Italy are a force to be reckoned with this summer with the ex-Arsenal star suggesting they could go all the way.
Italy kick-started their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of Turkey before battering Switzerland 3-0 in their second group game to qualify for the knock-out stages.
Taking to Twitter shortly after the final whistle on Wednesday, Ozil tweeted: “This Italian squad looks class and will be hard to beat during the tournament. Such a well-drilled team and no more Catenaccio!”
Lineker tweeted moments later: “10 wins on the bounce for the Azzurri without conceding a goal. Looking very strong.”
Are Italy your favourites to win Euro 2020? Have your say in the comments below
Italy last won the Euros in 1968 but have a great chance of lifting the trophy this summer with much praise coming their way and Ozil pointing out they’ll be very hard to beat.
Manuel Locatelli netted twice at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night as Italy became the first team to book a spot in the last 16.
The Sassuolo midfielder grabbed a classy brace before Ciro Immobile wrapped up a comfortable victory for the home side.
Giorgio Chiellini had an early goal disallowed by VAR before going off injured in the only blow during a comfortable night for the Italians.
Wales’ 2-0 victory over Turkey ahead of the fixture put pressure on Italy but they breezed past the Swiss to return to the top of Group A.
Italy striker Immobile planted a free header over after 10 minutes as the dominant hosts looked for an early breakthrough.
And the thought they had found it after 19 minutes when Chiellini fired past Yann Sommer only for VAR to disallow the strike for handball.
The skipper’s night would get worse too when he was forced off the pitch just four minutes later with a hamstring injury.
Italy did not have to wait long for their goal, though, when Locatelli grabbed the opener after 26 minutes.
He started the move when his ball found Domenico Berardi on the right and the midfielder continued his run to meet the winger’s low cross and fire in from five yards.
Switzerland, who drew 1-1 with Wales at the weekend, offered little resistance and never looked likely to break Italy, who have not conceded a goal since October.
It was no surprise then when Locatelli added a second for Italy seven minutes after the break.
Roberto Mancini’s side cut through the Swiss too easily and when Nicolo Barella found Locatelli on the edge of the box he was gifted time and space to arrow a low drive into the bottom corner.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was forced into rare action when he saved from Steven Zuber before Berardi shot narrowly over.
Immobile also went close with 17 minutes left but he sealed the victory with a minute to go when he found the bottom corner from 25 yards.