Italy can win Euro 2020, says Greece coach John van’t Schip
Azzurri qualify for the tournament with 100 per cent record in qualifying
Italy punched their ticket to Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Greece in Rome yesterday morning (Singapore time) to turn the page on their failure to qualify for the last World Cup Finals.
Greece coach John van't Schip responded to the result by suggesting the Azzurri can become European champions for the first time since 1968.
Decked out in green, a colour they had worn just once before at the Stadio Olimpico back in 1954, Roberto Mancini's new-look Italy extended their perfect run in Group J to seven games for a maximum 21 points.
A second-half penalty from Chelsea midfielder Jorginho gave the hosts the lead before Federico Bernardeschi drilled in the winner 12 minutes from time.
Said van't Schip: "Italy have always been a great footballing nation. The crisis they went through two years ago in failing to qualify for the World Cup is behind them now.
"They've got excellent defenders, midfielders and talented forwards.
"Italy can be an excellent outsider for Euro 2020, maybe even one of the favourites. I see no reason why they can't win."
By topping Group J, Italy have ensured that they will play their Euro 2020 matches at home.
The four-time world champions have struggled in recent times, missing out on a World Cup for the first time in history last year after consecutive group-stage exits.
Mancini, however, believes his side are not far off from the continent's best teams.
Said the former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss: "I tried to make the players believe in themselves when everyone else said Italy didn't have good players with quality.
"At times, you need to be a little patient. We might not have a world-class standout, but we have a team that fights hard, plays good football and still has a long way to go...
"We've got a year ahead of us to improve and I think we are not that far off the strongest European teams."
Italy have now won eight matches in all competitions, one short of the all-time record set by the legendary Vittorio Pozzo's side of 1938/39.
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti told Tuttomercatoweb: "We had hit rock bottom, because nobody expected Italy to miss out on the World Cup...
"I'm sure everyone can see we're a different team now, thanks largely to Roberto Mancini, who has been able to give us back our self-belief in a short space of time."