Italy manager Roberto Mancini admits they should have sealed the group as the Euro 2020 champions missed out on automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup but insists they can still win the competition.
will have to get through the playoffs if they want to return to the World Cup after they were held to a goalless draw againstNorthern Ireland
’s side needed to matchSwitzerland
’s result againstBulgaria
if they wanted an automatic qualification for the World Cup in Qatar.
However, their poor performance at Windsor Park and Switzerland’s 4-0 win in Lucerne saw Italy head into the playoffs for the second World Cup in a row.
“We can’t do anything about it now, we have this game in March and will try to give our best,”
“At the moment, we are struggling to score goals, despite dominating possession and the initiative. Northern Ireland put everyone in defense and we struggle to break sides like that down.
“It’s a pity, because we should’ve sealed the group long before it came to this. We just need to rediscover what characterized us up until today. We had two missed penalties in the decisive matches, so that shows we had the chances to win.”
Mancini is confident that they still have the chance to qualify for the World Cup and even win the competition.
“The game with Bulgaria was the first in September after just two Serie A rounds, so those fixtures are always the toughest, as we are rusty. We still had the chances to win both games with Switzerland,” argued Mancini.
“Now we prepare for March and we go into the playoffs confident. We’ll book our place in the World Cup in March and hopefully win the tournament too.”
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