A shot at redemption: Italy hopeful of 'Finalissima' win against Argentina
- Italy face Argentina in the Fianlissima at Wembley
- Having failed to qualify for the World Cup, Italy are looking for redemption
- However, Argentina, on a 31-game win streak, are favourites
Italy return to Wembley on Wednesday to face Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the 'Finalissima' - the match between Euro Cup winners and Copa America winners - and will be hoping to bounce back after failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Italy, who lifted the Euro Cup at Wembley by beating England last July, face a tough test against a resurgent Argentina, who won their first Copa America since 1993 last year, equalling Uruguay's record of 15 titles.
The Argentines are also on a whopping 31-game unbeaten streak going into the Finalissima, and as it stands, are favourites to win the match.
Despite expecting a tough match, however, the Azzurri are hopeful of proving their mettle on a ground where they won their second-ever European title.
"We wrote history in this stadium, so we gave a great emotion to all Italians. It will be a very important match for us in order to start over again and to bring Italy back to where it deserves [to be] and where we always were," Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne told reporters ahead of the match.
Defender Leonardo Bonucci expressed similar sentiments, saying, "Argentina are one of the best national teams in the world. It’s very rare in football to have this winning streak ... So you need to compromise, be very respectful, be very aggressive to win this trophy."
"Because as we’ve said, with this trophy we need to start over and set the basis to return Italy to where it deserves [to be], where it was one year ago," Bonucci added.
However, while Argentina are expected to field a full team as Lionel Messi looks to win his second international trophy, Italy will be without the exciting Federico Chiesa, who has been sidelined since January with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Despite missing one of his key players, Italy manager Roberto Mancini expects the match to be one of the "classic games of world football."
"It will be a great match and it is a great tribute to many players, like Giorgio [Chiellini], who will leave the national team, and Argentinian players soon to leave the national team," the Italian coach said, adding, "it will be a great, emotional match."
As it stands, Argentina and Italy have faced each other 16 times in international tournaments, with the Argentines edging it in terms of head-to-head stats: while La Albiceleste have won six of those encounters, the Azzurri boast five wins, a record they will be looking to improve upon this evening.