Italy vs Wales: UEFA EURO 2020 match background, facts and stats
Friday, January 1, 2021
Italy have won seven of their nine matches against Wales, although the Dragons can take heart from a famous EURO win back in 2002.
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Italy and Wales bring their respective Group A campaigns to a close at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the Azzurri having had the upper hand in the teams' previous encounters.
• Italy are already through to the round of 16 thanks to 3-0 wins in both their first two games, against Turkey and Switzerland, with Ciro Immobile scoring in both matches. Wales are second in the section on four points, a 1-1 draw in their opening fixture preceding a 2-0 defeat of Turkey with both games played in Baku.
• Italy will top the group if they avoid defeat. Wales will be confirmed in the top two with a draw or if Switzerland fail to beat Turkey in Matchday 3's other Group A game; they will finish first in the section with a win.
• This is the teams' tenth fixture overall, and their first since the UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying competition. Their most recent meeting ended in a 4-0 Italy win in Milan on 6 September 2003, Filippo Inzaghi hitting a hat-trick and Alessandro Del Piero getting the other Azzurri goal.
• Wales, however, had run out 2-1 winners in the first game in Cardiff with Simon Davies and Craig Bellamy on the scoresheet either side of a Del Piero goal. That was just Wales's second win against Italy, who nevertheless progressed to the final tournament in Portugal having finished first in the section on 17 points; Wales were runners-up and lost to Russia in the play-offs.
• Italy won away (2-0) and home (4-0) against Wales in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2000, meaning that EURO victory in October 2002 is Wales's only competitive success against the Azzurri in their six such matches. Current Italy forward Federico Chiesa's father Enrico was on target in that 4-0 win in Bologna on 5 June 1999 – Bobby Gould's final match as Wales manager.
• Italy were 4-1 winners against Wales at the Olimpico in Rome on 4 November 1969 in qualifying for the following year's FIFA World Cup. Luigi Riva scored a hat-trick, with Sandro Mazzola getting Italy's other goal; in the earlier encounter in Cardiff, Riva was also on the scoresheet as the Azzurri won 1-0.
• Wales's only other success against Italy was a 1-0 friendly win in Brescia on 4 June 1988 with the only goal scored by Ian Rush – then playing his club football in Serie A with Juventus.
EURO facts: Italy
• This is Italy's tenth EURO final tournament and their seventh in a row since sitting out the 1992 edition in Sweden. Only twice have they failed to advance through the group stage – in 1996 and 2004.
• Italy got as far as the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2016, finishing first in their group and beating holders Spain 2-0 in the last 16 only to lose to Germany in the last eight, going down 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
• Italy triumphed on home soil at the 1968 UEFA European Championship and have been runners-up twice since – in 2000 and 2012.
• This time round, Roberto Mancini's side won all ten of their qualifiers to finish first in Group J, swelling the number of countries to have reached the finals with a perfect record to eight, Belgium also having achieved the feat in the UEFA EURO 2020 preliminaries. Of the previous six to have won every qualifier, however, only Spain (2012) went on to win the tournament itself.
• A 3-0 win away to Bosnia and Herzegovina in their penultimate qualifier was Italy's tenth successive win in all internationals, the first time in their history they had achieved that feat.
• The Azzurri made it 11 straight victories with a 9-1 home win against Armenia in their final qualifying game, the first time they had scored nine goals in a game since August 1948. Seven different players were on the scoresheet, a new national record.
• The wins against Turkey and Switzerland at UEFA EURO 2020 mean Italy's record in Rome is now W37 D18 L6, with three of those defeats coming in their last eight matches at the Olimpico. Those are the Azzurri's only losses in their last 20 matches in Rome (W15 D2).
• The Azzurri are still undefeated in the Italian capital in EURO and FIFA World Cup matches; at final tournaments Italy's record in Rome is now W10 D2.
EURO facts: Wales
• This is Wales's second successive UEFA European Championship, following their 2016 debut. It proved a memorable bow, as a team coached by Chris Coleman qualified first in their group ahead of England, Slovakia and Russia before beating Northern Ireland (1-0) and Belgium (3-1) to reach the country's first ever semi-final at a UEFA or FIFA tournament at any level for men or women. Portugal proved too strong in the last four, however, the eventual champions running out 2-0 winners.
• Wales's previous best EURO performance came in 1976, when they went out to Yugoslavia 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. They fell 2-0 in the first leg in Zagreb before a 1-1 draw in Cardiff.
• That 2016 campaign was only Wales's second appearance in a major tournament. They reached the quarter-finals at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where they were eliminated 1-0 by eventual winners Brazil.
• In qualifying for these finals, a team managed by Ryan Giggs recovered from losing two of their first three matches to remain unbeaten in the last five (W3 D2) and finish second in Group E behind Croatia. They booked their place in the tournament with a 2-0 home win against Hungary in the last fixture.
• That 4-1 defeat in 1969 is Wales's only previous game in Rome.
Links and trivia
• Wales caretaker coach Robert Page was in the side that lost 4-0 to Italy in both June 1999 and September 2003. He was an unused substitute for the 2-1 home win in Cardiff in October 2002.
• Aaron Ramsey joined Juventus from Arsenal on 1 July 2019. His team-mates in Turin include Italian internationals Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Bernardeschi, Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Chiesa.
• Have also played together:
Emerson & Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea 2017–19)
Jorginho & Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea 2018/19)
• Gareth Bale scored in Real Madrid's 2-2 draw away to Bonucci's Juventus in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Bale also scored home and away against a Roma side fielding Alessandro Florenzi in the 2018/19 Champions League group stage.
• Bale struck a famous hat-trick in Milan as Tottenham lost 4-3 at Internazionale in the UEFA Champions League group stage on 20 October 2010.
• Daniel James and Gianluigi Donnarumma started both legs of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie between Manchester United and AC Milan, which the English club won 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 second-leg win in Italy.
• Italy have made it ten successive wins – all with clean sheets – with their UEFA EURO 2020 victories against Turkey and Switzerland, having also defeated San Marino 7-0 in Cagliari and the Czech Republic 4-0 in Bologna in their two pre-tournament friendlies. Roberto Mancini's side are now unbeaten in 29 internationals (W24 D5) since going down 1-0 to Portugal in Lisbon in the UEFA Nations League on 10 September 2018.
• Italy had never scored more than two goals in a EURO finals match before this tournament. Now they have managed three in successive encounters. The only previous EURO in which they won all three group games was in 2000, when they also kicked off with a win against Turkey (2-1) before beating Belgium (2-0) and Sweden (2-1) and going on to finish as runners-up to France.
• Ciro Immobile, the top scorer in Italy's squad, has found the net on each of his last four appearances for the Azzurri, taking his all-time tally to 15 goals in 48 internationals. He had never previously scored in more than two successive matches for his country.
• Manuel Locatelli's double against Switzerland was the first of his professional career. He had only scored once previously for Italy, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier away to Bulgaria in March this year (2-0).
• Matteo Pessina, a late addition to Italy's squad following the withdrawal of injured Stefano Sensi, scored his first two international goals in the pre-tournament win against San Marino, and current Under-21 international Giacaomo Raspadori made his senior debut as a substitute against the Czech Republic.
• Gaetano Castrovilli, who won the second of his two caps against San Marino, 18 months after his debut, replaced the injured Lorenzo Pellegrini in the squad on the eve of the tournament.
• Among the seven Italy players selected for both UEFA EURO 2016 and this tournament are skipper Giorgio Chiellini, who is appearing in his fourth successive EURO finals, and Leonardo Bonucci and Salvatore Sirigu, who are both involved in their third. The other survivors from five years ago are Federico Bernardeschi, Alessandro Florenzi, Immobile and Matchday 1 marksman Lorenzo Insigne.
• Immobile and Insigne both scored their first major tournament goals on their fifth appearance in the win against Turkey. Locatelli has two tournament goals in as many outings.
• Chiellini made it 14 EURO finals appearances as he led Italy out against Switzerland, though he had to leave the field in the first half with a muscular injury. Only Gianluigi Buffon (17) has made more in the tournament for the Azzurri.
• Chiellini and Bonucci are the only members of the Italy squad to have scored at any previous major tournament, the former having found the net against both Brazil at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and Spain at UEFA EURO 2016, while the latter was the Azzurri's scorer from the penalty spot in the 2016 quarter-final against Germany.
• Italy will host the final stages of the UEFA Nations League in the autumn. They take on Spain in the first of the semi-finals in Milan on 6 October.
• The Matchday 2 win against Turkey means that Wales's record at the EURO finals is now W5 D1 L2 with 13 goals scored and seven conceded.
• Aaron Ramsey became the first Welshman to score in two major tournaments when he put his team ahead against Turkey. He was also on target against Russia at UEFA EURO 2016 and now has 17 goals in 65 internationals – the seventh highest in Wales's all-time scoring list.
• Connor Roberts' added-time strike against Turkey was his second goal for Wales and first in 25 appearances, his first having come in just his third match – and first start – in a 4-1 home win over the Republic of Ireland in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League.
• Gareth Bale, Wales's record scorer with 33 goals, provided both assists against Turkey but missed a penalty and has now failed to find the net in his last 13 internationals – his longest barren run since he went 20 games without a goal from August 2007 to October 2010.
• Kieffer Moore's goal against Switzerland was his sixth for Wales and came on his final tournament debut. Wales have never lost a game in which he has scored (W4 D2).
• Wales had failed to score in their two pre-tournament friendlies, losing 3-0 to France in Nice and drawing 0-0 against Albania in Cardiff. Neco Williams was sent off after 26 minutes in the defeat by France, in which 19-year-old Rubin Colwill came off the bench to make his international debut.
• There are no 2020/21 domestic league winners in the Wales squad. Indeed, 15 of their UEFA EURO participants spent the season operating in the second or third tiers of English football. The only major trophy winners in the squad were Ramsey, who lifted the Coppa Italia with Juventus, and goalkeeper Danny Ward, who helped Leicester City capture the FA Cup – though neither played in the final.
• There are eight survivors from UEFA EURO 2016 in the Wales squad for this tournament: Joe Allen, Bale, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Wayne Hennessey, Ramsey, Ward and Jonny Williams.