Patrick Vieira says he has major ‘doubts’ that Italy can reach the latter stages of Euro 2020 as he believes Roberto Mancini’s side lack ‘intensity, power and pace’ going forward.
The Italians thumped Turkey 3-0 in their opening Group A match before beating Switzerland by the same margin to become the first team to book their place in the knockout stage, with Ciro Immobile adding to Manuel Locatelli’s earlier double in Rome last night.
Convincing back-to-back victories have led many to hail the Azzurri as early tournament favourites alongside the likes of France, Belgium and England but ex-Arsenal captain Vieira refused to get caught up in the hype as he dissected their performances in the ITV Sport studio.
The iconic Frenchman – who won the Euros back in 2000 – said he was going to withhold his praise given Mancini’s men are yet to be ‘really tested’.
‘I think the first two games they played, it was two easy games. I don’t think they’ve been really tested,’ Vieira stated.
‘Of course you have to win what is in front of you but I still have doubts that they can go to the end.
‘I believe that they have a lack of intensity, power and pace to be even more dangerous going forward.
‘I’m still going to wait, I think it’s a bit too early to take Italy into consideration that they can go until the end.’
Italy head coach Mancini looked to play down expectations following the win over Switzerland, arguing that his team are still in their developing stages when compared to the likes of France, Portugal and Belgium.
‘In the European Championship there’s France, Portugal and Belgium – one of those are world champions, another are European champions and the other are the number one ranked side in the world,’ he told reporters.
‘These are teams who have been built over a number of years and it’s only natural they are further along than us but everything can happen in football, you shouldn’t take anything for granted.
‘Every match is difficult, you always have to go out there and play.
‘I’ve been fortunate in that I have had some very good players who like playing the game, they enjoy being out there and like taking risks.
‘The players are the ones who deserve the credit. I try to explain my thought process and there is still a long way to go.’
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