The Italian international football side have certainly suffered mixed fortunes over the last almost a decade and they will undoubtedly be hoping that their destiny is back on an upward curve, and quickly after their most recent disappointment.
After plenty of struggles on the international stage, and following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy made a mini pivot in their next managerial appointment and went for the hugely experienced Roberto Mancini.
Few could argue the Federations plan did not work perfectly following his appointment in May 2018, as although Italy slipped to their lowest ever FIFA World Ranking of 21st place for a short period of time, the results gained under Mancini were incredibly positive. He helped them to qualify through for the 2020 European Championships with three games to spare, and they topped their group with ten wins from ten – becoming only the sixth side in national history to qualify with a perfect record and with the recent growth of safe online gambling, even non Italian fans would have got great odds on that outcome as 10CRIC offers the best football betting in India.
As history now demonstrates, Italy took the Finals of the tournament by storm, ultimately securing a 3-2 penalty shoot out victory at Wembley Stadium over host nation England as they lifted their second European Championship title, 53 years after winning their maiden one back in 1968.
At the height of that success and in amongst all the jubilation, things went quickly wrong again for the Azzurri losing in the semi finals of the UEFA Nations League against Spain, and in the process, losing their incredible 37 games undefeated run. That was only the start again as the wheels came off, as in the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, they finished two points behind Switzerland and needed to go through the second of qualifying again – which ultimately saw them miss out on another World Cup adventure as they were defeated 1-0 by North Macedonia in the semi final Play Off tie and they followed that disappointment by comprehensively losing 3-0 to Argentina in the 2022 Finalissima – or the CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions for the more traditional.
You would like to think that such a rollercoaster run of form could only happen in the game of football and it is one of the reasons why we all love the beautiful game – but equally that rollercoaster is often an emotional one and very few national sides will have been through as much pain and extasy as Italian fans in recent years.
With many expecting Mancini to walk, it seems his belief in the team given how they did in fact utterly dominate North Macedonia, may have further cemented his desire to get them back on track as his words at the time were feisty.
“It’s hard to say something right now – I don’t know what to say. Last summer was the most beautiful joy, now comes the greatest disappointment. It is not easy to think of other things. I am very sorry for the boys: I love them much more tonight than in July. I am the coach, I am the first responsible, the boys are not. They have a great future, they are strong players for the future of the national team. We did not deserve this defeat.”
Sadly for Italy and Mancini, a desire that has not yet been matched with results as they sit in third place in Nations League Group A3, two points behind Hungary with two games to go.