Mangia unafraid of 'favourites' Spain

The trainer admits the Azzurrini's opponents in the U21 final have played the "best" football in the tournament, yet is expecting a closely-fought match in Jerusalem
Italy Under-21 boss Devis Mangia insists he is not scared by "favourites" Spain ahead of the European Championship final on Tuesday.

The Spaniards became the first nation to reach the competition decider thanks to a 3-0 victory over Norway, only to be followed by the Azzurrini following their late win against Netherlands.

And while the former Palermo coach did acknowledge that La Rojita play the "best" football in the tournament, he believes the two finalists head to Jerusalem on equal footing.

"Spain are playing the best football and the results show this. They deserve all the compliments they are getting and they'll be the favourites for the final," he told reporters.

"I don't mind if they are the favourites because I know on June 18 there will be a green pitch, 11 players, a ball in the centre-circle and we will start at 0-0.

"When we started the tournament I said to the players to take it step by step. Now we only need to take one last step."

Manolo Gabbiadini, meanwhile, praised Italy for showing determination and grit en route to the final and emphasised the lack of any egos in their dressing room being another factor behind their success.

"In football you can be under pressure and we showed that we have character," the Juventus forward told Rai Sport.

"You can really see the strength of a squad during moments of difficulty and that is what made the difference for us.

“Spain are strong, but we will try to beat them with our humility. We are all at a very high level, we all want to do well and work our hardest."