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Mar 23, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
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Italy's Nicolo Barella wary of Finland threat in Euro 2020 qualifying

Italy's Nicolo Barella wary of Finland threat
© Reuters
The Italians failed to reach last year's World Cup.

Nicolo Barella believes Italy face a tricky start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Finland.

The 22-year-old Cagliari midfielder is one of the newcomers in Roberto Mancini's Italy squad as they look to bounce back after missing out on last summer's World Cup.

A play-off defeat to Sweden kept Italy out of the tournament for the first time since 1958.

Mancini's men start as Group J favourites as they turn their attention to the European Championship, but Barella is taking nothing for granted in Saturday's opening qualifier against Finland.

"Finland is a compact team and strong off the ball," he said at a press conference according to the national team's website.

"They will wait for our mistakes and we will have to be careful."

On the development of young players by the manager, he added: "Mancini is giving us so much and trust is the most important thing."

Italy will be without Roma's Alessandro Florenzi and Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa.

Left-back Cristiano Biraghi told the national team website: "We have a difficult race ahead, but we have to win."

Finland travel to Udine on the back of topping a Nations League group that contained Hungary, Greece and Estonia, and they will look to carry on that momentum against the Italians.

Captain Tim Sparv believes Markku Kanerva's side will have to start strong and defend well to secure something from the game.

Sparv told the national team's website: "The last couple of years have been difficult for them, they will certainly be motivated to play against us.

"If we keep our shape and defend as a team, we have a good chance to make life in Italy difficult."

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Dejan Lovren in action during the EFL Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Southampton on January 25, 2017
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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