Mancini: England among favorites for World Cup

Fri 10 June 2022 | 19:41

Italy manager Roberto Mancini says the Nations League clash with England on Saturday is a different game from the EURO 2020 Final.


will face


on Saturday at Molineux in Wolverhampton in the third round of the

Nations League

. This game will be played behind closed doors.

“It’s going to be a tough game, as it always is against England,”

said Mancini in his press conference.

“I don’t know if England will see it as revenge for the Euros, but this certainly is different from a Final, it’s even played behind closed doors.

“We have not yet decided who will play, we’ll decide after tonight’s training session. Some played two games in a row, so we need to take that into account.

“It would be better if we didn’t completely transform every time. For example, Bryan Cristante played two games in four days and there’s another one coming up in three days. We don’t have that many choices in midfield.”

Mancini also explained why he didn't change tactics before they failed to qualify for the World Cup.

“It was impossible to do it earlier. We won the European Championship exactly six weeks before playing those games. It was the team that had also started the qualifying campaign, who apart from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were all under 30.

“Unfortunately, we had 40 shots on goal in that play-off with North Macedonia, so there’s no logic to going back over it now. It’s not like we had players who were 32 and 33, they were pretty much all 27 or 28.”

Mancini said England is among the favorites for the World Cup in Qatar.

“I’d say England, Germany, Spain, there are four or five really strong teams.”

Italy's manager talked about possible changes to the team for when the Nations League group resumes in September with Italy hosting England at San Siro.

“We’ll see how the situation evolves. If we are first or second going into that game, some of them could come back earlier than planned, but many will still be of use for the European Championship qualifiers when those start up. Meanwhile, we want to see what these lads can do, even if it means risking a few defeats.”

Mancini was also asked about a possible return of Mario Balotelli to the national team.

“I really care for Mario and if he’d done what he was capable of over the years, he would certainly have returned to the Italy squad. Anything can happen in football, but we need to focus on youth now going into the Euros and then the 2026 World Cup, which we will aim to win.”

source: SportMob

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