Italy's Euro final heroes to line up against Bulgaria, says Mancini
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Milan (AFP) –
Italy fans will get to cheer on the same heroes that beat England in the Euro 2020 final, coach Roberto Mancini said on Wednesday as his team prepare for their first match since their triumph at Wembley.
The Azzurri host Bulgaria in Florence on Thursday in the first of three 2022 World Cup qualifiers this month and Mancini told reporters that supporters at the Stadio Artemio Franchi will watch a similar line-up to the one that beat England on penalties in July.
"Tomorrow's team won't be much different to the one that played the Euro 2020 final, which we hope can be the start of a whole era of success," Mancini said.
Mancini picked almost all of his victorious Euro squad for the qualifiers, with the only player missing the cut being Leonardo Spinazzola who was injured in the quarter-final win over Belgium.
"The team has managed to pull off something great, but we can get better and that success should spur us on to more," added Mancini.
"We aim to keep enjoying our football: you give your best when you're doing something that you enjoy."
The Italian FA said that 9,000 tickets have been sold for the game.
Italy top Group C with a perfect nine points after their first three matches and will be looking to cement their position as group leaders with a trip to Switzerland -- who dumped France out of the Euro -- coming up on Sunday.
They complete the international break with the visit of Lithuania to Reggio Emilia on September 8.
Mancini's team are on a unbeaten run of 34 matches and can also count on the return of Roma starlet Nicolo Zaniolo, who has recovered from two serious knee injuries and will add an extra option to an already fluid attack.
Also in the squad is striker Moise Kean, who returned to Juventus from Everton after Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Manchester United.
Since Mancini picked his 34-man line-up, Torino forward Andrea Belotti, Lazio defender Manuel Lazzari and Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret have had to leave injured.
Napoli announced on Wednesday that Meret left Italy's Coverciano training centre with fractured bones in his vertebrae, an injury he picked up during his team's 2-1 win at Genoa on Sunday.
© 2021 AFP