Italy broke into the last 16 goals scoring more freely than in previous European Championships, but it’s her almost impenetrable backline that makes them favorites to beat Austria in the knockout game of Saturday and go deep into the tournament.
Italy have won their first two games 3-0 – having never scored three before at the Euro. Strong Italian defense is nothing new.
In three matches of Euro 2020, the Azzurri have faced only 12 shots, on target or not.
Further on, Italy have kept their clean sheet in each of their last 11 matches in all competitions, going 1,055 minutes without conceding since a Donny van de Beek goal for the Netherlands last October.
A last clean sheet will allow them to equal his record of 12 consecutive games without conceding, established between 1972 and 1974.
This is Austria’s first appearance in the round of 16 of the Euro.
Spirited forward Marko Arnautovic is more than happy to ruffle some feathers, but the Italian rearguard will enjoy the competition.
Coach Roberto Mancini is worried about the fitness of center-back Giorgio Chiellini.
In the other match of the day in Amsterdam, Denmark will face Wales.
On the road
As Denmark hit the road for the first time in a tournament which is played in 11 cities across Europe, Wales have had a tougher travel schedule. The team were based in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they played their first two matches before facing Italy in Rome.
Wales are hoping they can build the same kind of momentum that led them to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Welsh star Gareth Bale has failed to score in his last 14 internationals, however, and missed a penalty against Turkey in Baku.