Italy have not been this loaded with talent at the national team level for some time now. After completely missing out on the 2018 World Cup, they’ve taken just two games to already seal their spot in the knockout rounds of the European Championships. The Azzurri take on Wales on Sunday in the last game of the group round looking to seal the win, but it’s the manner in which they romped to a pair of 3-0 wins against Turkey and Switzerland that has caught the eye.
One of Juventus’ few bright spots from the just-ended season was Federico Chiesa, but the forward has only had limited time on the pitch with manager Roberto Mancini preferring to start with Dominico Berardi out wide on the right. While there has been some talk that Italy might get found out when they play a stronger side, Chiesa dismissed that notion.
“Fear of facing the stronger sides? We shouldn’t be afraid. On the contrary, I can’t wait for us to be able to face them and see what level we’re at.
“There’s fantastic energy within this Italy group, and the atmosphere is also brilliant. Credit to the coach. Mancini has a great staff, they all bring important values and mirror the team that we are. He brought enthusiasm and we can see the same among the fans.”
Despite only featuring peripherally, the 23-year-old is not worried about his standing in the squad.
“As Mancini said, the squad consists of 26 starters. If I’m called upon, I’ll be ready. Everyone is important as we look to achieve our objective.
‘We’re here to go all the way and want to keep daring to dream.’
Italy have asked UEFA for dispensation to wear black armbands to mourn one of the greats of Italian football, Juventus legend Giampiero Boniperti who passed away earlier today. Wales are eyeing top spot in Group A themselves and Chiesa knows that his Juve teammate Aaron Ramsey can be dangerous.
“They (Wales) are a strong and tenacious team and will certainly give us a battle. They have some excellent players, first and foremost (Gareth) Bale.
“Aaron [Ramsey] is another great player, above the average and very smart. I appreciate him on and off the pitch. He’s a very intelligent footballer. I’ve enjoyed watching him in training and during matches in the past year.
“He’s been dealing with some injuries, but he’s always given his best. He is a friend of mine, we are on good terms but we didn’t text each other lately.”