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Italy have been drawn in the “Group of Death” with the Azzurri set to face Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016.

Antonio Conte’s side will open up their campaign against Belgium on the 13th June, four days later Italy face Sweden and the Republic of Ireland on the 22nd June.

Here are all the managers reactions to their sides Euro 2016 group stage draw:


Antonio Conte, Italy Manager

“I think Belgium are an excellent team and are among the favourites to reach the final stages. They have a young team and a lot of top players in their ranks.”

“Sweden, Ireland and Italy are all on the same level.”

“Well, Belgium, as I said before, have a lot of strong and top players – I’m thinking about Hazard, Lukaku, De Bruyne and Nainggolan, just to name a few. Sweden have a top player in Ibrahimović and everything revolves around him. And Ireland play with a lot of emotion and have a strong team spirit, so we have to be careful.”

“We are ambitious but we know we have to work hard and that we can improve a lot.”

Martin O’Neil, Rep Ireland Manager

“It’s a tough draw for us – it couldn’t get any tougher. Italy should really be in Pot 1. They haven’t dropped that much in the rankings – they are a top-ranking side so it’s difficult. It’s good for the Irish fans but difficult for us. We start off against Sweden in Paris; we will have a big support – let’s go for it and give it everything.”

“Sweden is a game to look forward to, so let’s go for it. They are not a one-man team, although Ibrahimovic has been a top class player. I watched Sweden in the play-off games and they were quite strong.”

“We will take time out to study opposition players so that by the time of the games we know everything about them.”

Marc Wilmots, Belgium Manager

“A group of death? There is no such thing. It’s a tough draw – nothing more. Republic of Ireland we should be able to beat; Sweden we can also beat. The first match against Italy will be the toughest. [Italy coach Antonio Conte] will not be happy to have drawn us either.”

“The top two progress and Belgium and Italy are the favourites in this one. Now we need to set up some friendly opponents to prepare; Sweden and Ireland play an English style of football, so we will try to find that kind of opponent. Distance is not the biggest issue in France; it’s maximum a one-hour flight, so that’s much better than in [the World Cup finals in] Brazil, so that is a bit of a bonus.”

“We do not have to worry about the players underestimating any matches. They have to be on top form from the start, so regarding motivation we could not have a better first opponent than Italy. We will have to go into the tournament full of belief.”

Erik Hamrén, Sweden Manager

“Belgium are a team for which one has great expectations. This generation has been good for a long time and is still developing. Italy have not been as strong in qualifying this time but are traditionally good in final tournaments.”

“We played Ireland in the last EURO qualifiers, and they made it to the final tournament through the play-offs, just like we did. Of course, Belgium and Italy are the favourites.”


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