Speaking ahead of Italy’s quarter-final clash against Belgium, striker Ciro Immobile previewed the clash and discussed comparisons between himself and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku, who leads the line for Friday’s opponent and is coming off an impressive season with the Nerazzurri.
His words transcribed in Sky Sport, the Lazio striker also pointed to his own growth as a player, indicating that he would forgo any goalscoring feats in favour of the team’s success, and that he has learnt from past experiences with the Azzurri.
“I would give up my goals if it meant bringing winning the tournament, that’s the truth. I’d like to beat the records, but I would rather win the trophy. We have three games left to reach the objective, and we want to go all the way. The team needs me and I need the team, we are all going in the same direction.”
“We know the responsibility that we have after that draw against Sweden [2018 World Cup qualifier, which Italy lost]. Past errors can weigh on you, it’s not self criticism but never have I felt this much faith and support from others as I do right now. I’ve scored 15 goals for the national team, it’s not a lot but a trophy would override all of that, and that’s what I’m trying to do in these Euros.”
“[Lukaku] is very strong, we’re lucky to know about him since he plays in Italy, he’ll face off against our defenders. He has a devastating physical force and is fast, he’s improved a lot under Conte.”
On who the better striker is out of him and Lukaku:
“I’ll let you decide that, maybe we could ask [Simone] Inzaghi.”
On France v Switzerland:
“We dominated against Switzerland and made them seem like a little team, while against France they showed exactly the opposite. It’s a difficult tournament.”
On Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard playing or not:
“If they’re on the pitch then it’s a different game, they’re two fundamental players but the substitutes will also be good. We’ll prepare for the match as though they’re both playing. Belgium are a team that are more prepared, and have more personality and experience compared to the last Euros.”