Austria are the clear underdogs going into Saturday’s Euro 2020 last 16 match against mighty Italy but even a slim chance could be all they need for an upset and a spot in the last eight, said Austria coach Franco Foda on Friday.
Title contenders Italy easily clinched first place in Group A, becoming the first team to advance to the knockout stage, winning all three matches without conceding a goal and stretching their unbeaten to 30 games.
In their three group matches, the Azzurri have faced only 12 shots, on or off target, and also have kept a clean sheet in each of their last 11 matches in all competitions, going 1,055 minutes — 17 hours and 35 minutes — without conceding since last October.
“The Italians have been the most convincing so far in the tournament,” Foda told a news conference.
“They won all their group matches. Especially in the third group game where they made many changes but again left a solid impression.
“Percentage-wise it is difficult to say (what Austria’s chances are) but even if it is just 10%, there is a lot you can do with 10%,” he added.
The Austrians, who had never won a game at the Euros before this tournament, reached the second round of an international tournament for the first time in 39 years, with the team having last made an impact at the 1982 World Cup.
They won two group games to finish second in their Group C behind Netherlands.
“We have our qualities. Italy will have respect for us and they will have seen that we can also be aggressive. There are many things that are in our favour as well but obviously we are the clear outsiders,” Foda said.
“The team has achieved something extraordinary so far by qualifying to the knockout stage but now we are in the round of 16 and we want to do everything to take the next step to Munich (for the quarter-final).
“We cannot allow mistakes against them but we also want to attack,” he added.
The winner of their game faces either Portugal or Belgium in Munich on July 2.
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