Italy coach Mancini wary of 'solid' Wales

Bucharest (AFP) –


Roberto Mancini said he was relieved as Italy avoided World Cup winners France in the draw for Euro 2020 on Saturday, but was wary of a "solid" Welsh side.

Mancini's side open their Group A campaign at home in Rome's Stadio Olimpico on June 12 against Turkey before facing Switzerland five days later and Wales on June 21.

Italy have the advantage of playing all their group games in Rome.

"Lucky Italy? It depends on your point of view," Mancini said after the draw in Bucharest.

"Switzerland are a great team, Wales can be the surprise and Turkey is full of good youngsters.

"We are not favourites, they are all teams that play good football," the former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager said.

"The fact of playing in Rome benefits us a bit but they are all difficult games, in particular Wales, which plays good football, with many internationals in the Premier League.

"It is a solid team, not easy to beat."

Despite being wary of Welsh stars including Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Juventus's Aaron Ramsey, Mancini said there was relief at avoiding France.

"We could have got France but in the end it is a balanced group," he said.

Italy won all ten of their Euro 2020 qualifying matches as they roared back having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"We must be aware of what we did in the qualifying round, but also that this now no longer matters," said the 55-year-old former Italy international.

"The goal is to win the European Championship, we have no other goals."

Mancini took over in May 2018 after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after a playoff defeat to Sweden.

They approach Euro 2020 searching for just their second European title after winning in 1968.