Italy has struggled for form since winning the European Championship in 2021, but their 1-0 success against England at the San Siro in Milan in the penultimate match of their UEFA Nations League campaign will give them a lot of confidence.
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) September 23, 2022
The victory relegated England to tier B and ensured the Azzurri remain among the leading nations in Europe. Giacomo Raspadori’s goal in 68 minutes was enough to separate the two teams in a tight game.
The hosts went into the match against the Three Lions as the underdogs, as they were suffering from injuries to several key players in their squad. What that meant was there were opportunities for players who are normally on the fringes of the starting XI to impress head coach Roberto Mancini.
As well as the victory, Mancini will have been pleased that his side was able to keep a clean sheet. It was the first time since their 5-0 win over Lithuania in September 2021 that they stopped the opposition from scoring in a home fixture.
No World Cup Appearance
Italy will still be hurting from missing out on the World Cup in Qatar this winter. The European champions were beaten by North Macedonia in the semi-final of the play-offs earlier this year. It was a huge upset and one which remains hard to believe by Italian football fans.
It is the second consecutive World Cup that Italy will miss, as they also failed to qualify in 2018 in Russia. The four-time winners last appeared at the biggest tournament in international in 2014 when they were eliminated in the group stages in Brazil, winning just one of their three games.
Their next opportunity to play World Cup final football will come in 2026 when Canada, Mexico, and the United States host the competition. For now, they must watch the leading countries’ contest for the trophy where, as of the 27th of September, Brazil are the 9/2 favourite in the outright World Cup betting markets to prevail for the sixth time in history.
Mancini to Decide on His Future
Before the victory over England, there were calls for Mancini to either step down or be sacked from his role as the Azzurri head coach. This result takes some pressure off the shoulders of the Italian manager.
? #Mancini: “An important win against a really strong side. The personality and spirit shown on the pitch makes the difference, not the formation"#ITAENG #NationsLeague #Azzurri #VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/2wMhSlY4KY
— Italy ???????? (@Azzurri_En) September 23, 2022
The former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss took the job as the national team manager in 2018. He played a big role in helping his country prevail at Euro 2020, a triumph that was a surprise to many people.
Mancini has a 61% win rate with Italy following their win against the Three Lions. He has been in charge of 54 games, winning 33 of them, drawing on 15 occasions, and losing just six games.
The World Soccer Men’s Manager of the Year for 2021 looks set to continue in the hot seat for Italy. His team will soon embark on qualification for Euro 2024 where they will be defending champions. He also has two friendlies to prepare for before the season is out, as they are set to take on Albania and Austria.
Talented Players Breaking Through
Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have been key players for club and country across three different decades. They combine for an age of 73 years. Those two players are unlikely to play a major tournament again, so Mancini is now building towards the future.
Bryan Cristante and Nicolo Barella have both shown recently that they are two of Italy’s brightest stars of the future. Those two players feature in Serie A for Roma and Inter Milan where they are integral players for their respective teams.
Forwards Gianluca Scamacca and Raspadori have played just 22 games between them for Italy, but neither of the young forwards has looked out of place playing international football.
Mancini is likely to use the upcoming friendlies against Albania and Austria to give more inexperienced players the chance to show what they are capable of producing in an Azzurri shirt.
When at full strength, Italy are capable of being a match for any team in world football. Mancini will be hoping to build upon the success against England in what has proved to be a big result for the country and manager.
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