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Italy's Leonardo Bonucci 'most impressed' by England so far

Italy's Leonardo Bonucci 'most impressed' by England so far
© Reuters
Italy were also on form as they opened the tournament by sweeping Turkey aside 3-0 last Friday.

Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci claims England are the country that have impressed him the most so far at Euro 2020.

England, who are in Group D, opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory over World Cup finalists Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

Bonucci was speaking on Tuesday afternoon, prior to the first games in tournament for France, Germany and Portugal, but nevertheless admitted England had caught the eye.

Raheem Sterling (right) scored as England opened their tournament with victory over Croatia
Raheem Sterling (right) scored as England opened their tournament with victory over Croatia (Martin Rickett/PA)

The 34-year-old said: "Besides the teams that still need to play – who will of course impress us because they are all top countries – England have really stood out to me.

"For the approach they showed, the way the were willing to work hard for one another and the fact they sought three points, England are the team that have impressed me most so far."

Bonucci had presumably temporarily removed Italy from the equation as he gave that particular answer at a press conference to preview his side's second Group A match against Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday.

Lorenzo Insigne wrapped up Italy's 3-0 win over Turkey in their opening match
Lorenzo Insigne wrapped up Italy's 3-0 win over Turkey in their opening match (Ettore Ferrari/Pool via AP)

Italy were also on form as they opened the tournament by sweeping Turkey aside 3-0 last Friday.

It was a ninth win in succession for Roberto Mancini's side, all of which have been achieved with clean sheets.

Bonucci said: "This is the greatest team spirit I have encountered. At no time have there been any issues in the squad. It is a very tight group and it is little wonder then that we are getting results."

Bonucci was also asked about whether the Italian players would take the knee to highlight racial inequality and discrimination ahead of the game, as the Swiss did prior to their 1-1 draw against Wales.

Switzerland and Wales players took the knee on Saturday
Switzerland and Wales players took the knee on Saturday (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, Pool)

He said: "Clearly we are all against any form of racism and discrimination. At this moment in time I don't think there has been a specific request from UEFA to actually conform. This is up to all national FAs, but we are very much standing against racism."

Italy will need to quell the threat of Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri, who is relishing the chance to shine against a side managed by his former Inter Milan boss Mancini.

Shaqiri, who is now at Liverpool, was brought to Inter by Mancini in January 2015 but failed to earn a regular place in the side and left for Stoke just six months later.

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri is ready for a tough challenge against Italy
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri is ready for a tough challenge against Italy (Ozan Kose, Pool via AP)

Shaqiri said: "I am really looking forward to the game and I look forward to seeing Roberto. He is a great person and I am really happy that it is going well for him and he has made Italy a top team.

"They are one of the favourites for this tournament. They will try to attack. It is not the Italy that used to defend all the time.

"It will be a challenge but we will try to create problems for them. It will be a difficult game but we are confident."

Italy could make one enforced change with right-back Alessandro Florenzi doubtful with a calf injury.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441634
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
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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