Wales boss Ryan Giggs insists Italy have to be considered Group A favourites, but will tap into star Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s inside knowledge in a bid to gain an edge.
Wales secured qualification for Euro 2020 with a victory over Hungary and now face Italy, Switzerland and Turkey in next summer’s finals. The match against Italy will be especially tough as it takes place in Rome, with the Azzurri having beaten Wales 4-0 on each of the last two occasions they have met on Italian soil.
“I think Italy are the favourites, and that’s not being disrespectful to Switzerland or Turkey because they are two good teams,” Giggs said at the draw in Bucharest.
“Italy have the history, talented footballers, they have home games, and in qualifying they won 10 games out of 10 scoring a lot of goals.
“They have a great manager (Roberto Mancini) and some good young players, so I think they go into the group as favourites.
“Aaron is there now so I might be tapping into his knowledge – he’s having a great season and he’s at a great club and for (information on) certain players I’ll be tapping into him no doubt.”
Asked whether their respective Manchester connections – Giggs played his entire career at United while Mancini steered City to the most dramatic of Premier League title successes in 2012 – made this a derby, the Wales boss said: “I know Roberto and he’s a fantastic coach.
“He showed that with Manchester City and now he’s showing that with the national team.”
Before Wales face Italy in Rome on June 21, they will play Switzerland on June 13 and Turkey on June 17, both in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
Winning the group would pit Wales against the runners-up from Group C at Wembley. That group contains Ukraine, Holland, Austria and either Romania if they win play-off path A or the winners of play-off path D.
Finishing as runners-up would set up a match against the runner-up in Group B – which features Belgium, Russia, Denmark and Finland – in Amsterdam.