Italy head coach Antonio Conte has acknowledged that his team will not be favourites to win Euro 2016 but he claims they “have ambitions” and will be “dangerous outsiders” in France.
The Azzurri were World Cup winners a decade ago and have the capabilities of performing well in big tournaments, having reached the final of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, where they fell short against a rampant Spain side and lost 4-0.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a disappointment as they crashed out in the group stages alongside England, but they have recovered well to win their qualifying group with seven wins and three draws from 10 games.
Italy face a tough test in the finals having been drawn to face Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in Group E.
Hosts France, world champions Germany, the Belgians and Spain are all fancied to win the tournament ahead of Italy, but Conte is confident that his players can ruffle a few feathers.
“Let’s just say we have ambitions,” he told 1904 magazine. “It doesn’t matter to me if we’re one of the favourites or not. Maybe we’ll just be dangerous outsiders in France.
“The main thing is to prepare for the European Championships as well as we can. If all goes to plan we’ll play seven matches, so it would be a case of doing our best seven times.
“You have to get a lot right to win a tournament.”
Italy are 1.20 to qualify from Group E and 2.75 to win it, while they can be backed at 19.00 to win Euro 2016 outright.