Italy impressed during the group stages
Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The European Championship knockout stages begin this weekend. The first match of the last-16 stage is Wales-Denmark in Amsterdam before Italy face Austria at Wembley.
The Italians impressed during the group stages, winning all three of their matches with plenty of goals scored. Roberto Mancini’s side are arguably the form side in the entire competition.
Austria reached the knockout stages of the Euros for the very first time after defeating Ukraine in a crunch match that either could have qualified from.
When is Italy vs Austria?
Italy vs Austria is on Saturday 26 June.
What time is kick-off?
The game gets under way at 8pm BST.
What TV channel is it on?
The television schedules are yet to be finalised but there will be live coverage on BBC One or ITV1. Alternatively, you can bookmark this page and return to follow all the action on our live blog.
What is the team news?
For Italy, Giorgio Chiellini is back in training after picking up an injury earlier in the tournament. His participation against Austria is in doubt, however. Alessandro Florenzi is also unlikely to be fit to play.
For Austria, Christoph Baumgartner, who scored their only goal against Ukraine, then went off with a head injury. His participation against Italy is in doubt.
Have the teams played before?
Italy are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with Austria in all competitions (W10 D3) since a 1-2 friendly loss in December 1960. This is the first match between the sides since a 2-2 friendly draw in August 2008.
What are our writers saying?
Jeremy Wilson, in this piece, believes Premier League clubs have overlooked the ability of Roberto Mancini:
Mancini has quickly identified a system and a team at Italy which has been simplified by the imperative to coach according to limitations. It blends youth and experience and, from the veteran Chiellini-Bonucci axis at centre-back, to a potential midfield of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolò Barella there are partnerships all over the pitch. Lorenzo Insigne, Ceri Immobile and Federico Chiesa also provide decent attacking variety.
It adds up to an enticing blend but what has most impressed is the way that Mancini has made Italy more than the sum of their parts and, just as at Inter and City, galvanised a pride and purpose that says they can be winners again. He has apparently also mellowed somewhat.
Italy might just prove to be the job of Mancini’s life — international tournament success also eluded him as a player and he says that he dreams of winning the World Cup — but it should also reopen Premier League eyes.
What are the odds?
What is our prediction?
Austria possess plenty of talent in their squad but they face an in-form Italian side. Expect Italy to dictate play, dominate possession and find the back of the net at some point in the game. Austria will make it competitive, but Italy are likely to finish Saturday as quarter-finalists.
Verdict: Italy 2 Austria 0