Italy manager Roberto Mancini said that the postponement of Euro 2020 is good news for his team. The 16th edition of the European Championship was scheduled to be held from June 12 to July 12 this year but the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had forced European football's governing body UEFA to defer it to next year.
"If we had played the European Championship in June, we would have had a good chance but maybe we would have faced national teams who are better prepared because they started to rejuvenate the squad before us, or have an long-established team like France," he told Sky Sport Italia.
"But with another year, the lads will have the opportunity to improve in every respect, they will gain experience."
The former Manchester City manager has revived the four-time world champions after they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Mancini feels that with the extra time they have now, the team can shape up well and compete with the best.
"Our national side can compete among the best. I hope to be coach of the (Italy) team that will win the European Championship for the first time since 1968."
Mancini however said that for now, football has taken a back seat as Italy reels under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the worst hit countries in the world, Italy has reported over 15,000 deaths thus far and over 1,30,000 infections.
"There is great bitterness," said Mancini. "Unfortunately many people are no longer with us and that is the most difficult thing to accept."
"None of us would have wanted the postponement of the Euros. Many people have died and football takes second place."