Wesley Sneijder Names Italy as Top Candidates to Lift Euro 2020 crown

Former Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder has backed Italy to lift the Euro 2020 title following an eye-catching start to the tournament. During an interview with VoetbalPrimeur, the ex-Netherlands star singled out Gli Azzurri as the top candidates to win the European Championship.

Seeking their first European Championship title since 1968, the Italians have got off to a flying start to their Euro 2020 campaign. Roberto Mancini’s men progressed to the knock-outs as Group A winners with all three wins and a +7 goal difference. Italy completed the group stage as one of just two teams alongside England to keep a clean sheet in all three matches.

They will take on Austria in the round of 16 on Saturday at Wembley in high spirits. Italy take the field unbeaten in 30 consecutive international fixtures (W25, D5), winning the last 11 in a row without conceding once. Odds-on favorites to advance to the quarter-finals, the Italians have not lost any of their previous 13 meetings with Das Team in all competitions (W10, D3).

Italy can also draw confidence from winning all four games against Austria across major tournaments, though their last such encounter dates back to the 1998 World Cup. Indeed, the teams met only once in the 21st century, drawing 2-2 in a friendly back in August 2008.

Sneijder now believes Italy are the leading candidates to win the competition following an inspirational start. Although he initially labeled France as favorites to wrap up the crown, he has had a change of heart.

They are well on their way, aren’t they?” he said. “After everything I’ve seen, I do have a new favourite: I’m going for Italy. I had France, but they don’t convince me yet. So I make a small switch.

Despite finishing top of the ‘Group of Death,’ the reigning World Cup titleholders have not showcased their full potential as of yet, particularly disappointing in a 1-1 draw with Hungary on Matchday 2. Les Bleus will lock horns with Switzerland in the last-16, with the Nati qualifying for the knock-outs as a third-place team from Italy’s section.