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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sacchi Under Fire, Says Italy Too Good to Pack Bags Now

MANCHESTER, England -- Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi believes his team is too good to bow out of Euro 96 after the group stage, but it will have to beat Germany on Wednesday to prove it.


After its surprise defeat by the Czech Republic last Friday, Italy has just three points from its two Group C matches and needs a victory against Berti Vogts's unbeaten team to rescue any hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.


Sacchi will come under heavy fire from the country's fervent fans and media if his team is forced to pack its bags and return home.


But the task facing the Italians is formidable. Germany is almost certain of a place in the last eight after two victories against the Czechs and Russia.


Italy is only level on points with the Czechs who have an easier task against the struggling Russians in their last game.


But Sacchi said: "We do not deserve to go home. We have played a high standard of football. But we can't just hope to beat Germany. We must be convinced that we can do it."


A point would be good enough for the Germans to win the group. But Vogts has warned his team that it has not qualified yet and Italy can expect no favors from its traditionally fierce rivals.


Italian captain Paolo Maldini knows that his team will have to take the game to the Germans but runs the risk of falling prey to their deadly counter-attacks in the process.


"The Germans won't want to lose the opportunity to throw Italy out of the championship," the experienced AC Milan defender said. "We are under a lot of pressure."


History is in favor of the Italians. They have won 11 of the previous 25 clashes between the two teams. But the Germans have won their last two meetings in friendlies in 1994 and 1995, the last a 2-0 victory in Zurich.


The last time the two countries met in a competitive match was at the 1988 European championship in Germany when they drew 1-1 in Duesseldorf.