As Italy prepare to face Austria in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Saturday, what do we know about Gli Azzurri’s opponents?
Franco Foda’s team will line up at this stage of the tournament for the first time in their history after having often expressed a style of play that was somewhat unexpected.
David Alaba is the obvious, well-known threat with his clever runs down the left and ability from dead balls, but Austria are more than a one-man team.
Marcel Sabitzer managed eight goals in 27 Bundesliga games for RB Leipzig and is the other main man to keep an eye on, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Austrians have been described as physical and fluid and have a clear strength in the form of crosses delivered into the box from either side, boasting a clear height advantage.
Strikers Marko Arnautovic and Michael Gregoritsch are both very tall – almost two metres each – and have bagged a goal apiece so far, as has the very talented Christoph Baumgartner, but that isn’t all the Austrians offer.
Foda’s side play a high-tempo game, similar to that of Roberto Mancini, but the physical condition of their players is not a good as Italy’s, perhaps due to their focus on being super physical from the off.
As the game runs its course, Mancini’s men are more and more likely to see some sort of advantage in terms of fitness, but definitely shouldn’t underestimate their opponents as they prepare for Saturday’s 21:00 CEST kick off at Wembley.