Italy boss Antonio Conte has talked up their Euro aspirations following the impressive 2-0 win over pre-tournament favouritesBelgium on Monday.
Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Griaziano Pelle were enough to stun the beleaguered Belgians in their opening fixture and Conte says they must take satisfaction from their performance.
“I’ve been repeating from the beginning – and I’m not one to tell lies – that this is a group first and foremost of men, and then of footballers,” he said. “That’s important because in a tournament like this you need an alchemy of people who get on well together, and the biggest satisfaction for me tonight is to see how happy they all were, including those on the bench. There’s a very good spirit in this squad.
Conte also added that they have big intentions for the tournament, as they aim to win only their second ever European championship.
“We have big intentions and our objective remains the same, to get into the last 16. The objective is to get where we deserve to be, without any regrets. I think the fans are pleased when they see 23 players giving everything on the field and being willing to spill blood.
“I cannot deny that I was very, very emotional today – to be coach of a country in such a big tournament doesn’t happen every day. It’s something special for the lads to wear this shirt, but I’d like to say also that with this unity of intention, we can do great things.”