Italy defeated Lithuania 5-0 in a Group C qualifier for the FIFA World Cup 2022, equaling the record of 37 unbeaten games set by the Brazilian national team between 1993 and 1996, when they played 36 games.
When former Manchester City and Inter Milan Coach Roberto Mancini took over as Italy’s national team coach, he inherited an Italian side that had missed out on qualifying for the 2018 Football World Cup after losing to Sweden in a playoff under Luigi Di Biagio. His contract runs until 2020 and will be automatically extended until 2022 if he qualifies for Euro 2020.
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Mancini’s changes to the national team
Former Sampdoria striker Roberto Mancini immediately got to work, surrounding himself with his trusted partners with whom he enjoyed a successful playing career. The fact that Gianluca Vialli, the Italian national team’s head of delegation, was close to the national team during the successful Euro 2020 campaign is proof of this.
Mancini brought three of his former Sampdoria teammates to the Italian national team as assistant coaches. The hiring of his close friend and former teammate Vialli will not begin until later in 2019. Before the Mancini era, the Italians were known for their struggling defenders. The last defender to win the Ballon d’Or, Fabio Cannavaro, captained the victorious Italian national team at the 2006 Football World Cup.
With legendary defenders such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, and Alessandro Nesta, one might think that the art of defending can be attributed to Italy alone.
The Italian style of play under Mancini’s tutelage
However, Mancini is not only interested in the Italian national team having a defender. He wanted his team to always be upfront and made then Napoli midfielder Jorginho his first choice for the deep midfield position. It should be remembered that Jorginho was ignored and discarded by the previous coach Gian Piero Ventura. For more details about Football World Cup Tickets.
Mancini’s choice of Jorginho in midfield meant he had a player he could rely on to control the tempo of the game for him. The combination of Jorginho with PSG forwards Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella ensured that the Azzurri maintained control of the ball and reduced the number of opposition balls, just as they did during his time as Manchester City coach.
Bringing on youngsters
Immediately after his arrival, Mancini began bringing young players into the Italian national team. Moise Keane, Niccolo Zagnolo, Sandro Tonali, and Federico Chiesa all benefited from his decision, with Chiesa doing particularly well at Euro 2020 and Keane scoring a record two goals on the night.
Despite his preference for young players, he is sticking with his proven veterans to ensure their influence is felt in the team. Captain Giorgio Chiellini’s experience in the Euro 2020 final came to the fore when he pulled back young winger Bucaio Sacca late in the game to prevent him from scoring a clear goal.
Roberto Mancini, Italy’s legendary manager
Mancini led his Italy side to ten wins in Euro 2020 qualifying before guiding his team to victory in the tournament with some first-class performances. Despite their brilliant form leading up to the tournament, the team was not considered favorites by many, as Mancini had not faced many top-flight teams since taking the reins. The Italian coach has proven to be a trailblazer and has certainly done a great job in making this group of Italian players the best they have ever been.
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