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Mancini in shock resignation as Italy national team coach

By AFP - Aug 14,2023 - Last updated at Aug 14,2023

ROME — Roberto Mancini announced his shock resignation as coach of European champions Italy on Sunday less than a month before Euro 2024 qualifying resumes, having failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said in a statement it had “received late yesterday evening” Mancini’s surprise decision to step down after five years in charge.

“Because of important and close commitments for the team with Euro 2024 qualifiers against North Macedonia and Ukraine, the FIGC will announce the name of the new national coach in the next few days,” the federation added.

“Thus concludes a significant page in the history of the Azzurri,” the FIGC added, recalling a memorable “Euro 2020 triumph in which a group of individuals became a team.”

Italy was Mancini’s first international coaching job when he was appointed in May 2018 after the four-time world champions’ failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

A former international, Mancini won Euro 2020 with Italy but the country again missed out on a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Mancini’s resignation comes as talk to a Saudi Arabia move grows.

Earlier this month the 58-year-old had also been handed responsibility for the country’s U-21 and U-20 teams.

His departure comes following recent appointments to the national coaching setup including former Italy defender Andrea Barzagli and goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon.

The Italian press has speculated that Luciano Spalletti could be lined up as his successor after ending Napoli’s 33-year wait for the Serie A title last season, before leaving his post.

Former Italy coach Antonio Conte, sacked in March by Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, and ex-world champion Fabio Cannavaro, who has coached in China and Saudi Arabia, have also been suggested. 

A former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager Mancini had won 13 trophies in club football before taking charge of Italy.

He led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A crowns with Inter. He also won the Italian Cup with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

 

Wembley heroics

 

Despite the high point of leading Italy to a second European title, 53 years after the first, with a dramatic penalty shootout over England at Wembley, Mancini’s reign was marked by equally resounding failure.

The European champions were not in Qatar for the World Cup after a disastrous qualifying campaign, drawing four of eight games before losing at home to North Macedonia in the play-offs. 

His record with Italy was 37 wins, 15 draws and nine defeats, and a third place finish at the Nations League Finals in June.

The World Cup failure was followed by a mixed start to the Euro 2024 campaign.

Italy is third in Group C with three points after a 2-0 win over Malta and a 2-1 loss to England, which is top with 12 points from four games. 

It is up to Mancini’s successor, who will only have a few weeks to prepare for the matches in early September, to put Italy back on track.

They play in North Macedonia on September 9 and Ukraine at home three days later.

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