Roberto Mancini was widely criticised by the Italian press after the Azzurri’s disappointing 2-1 loss to England in their first Euro 2024 qualifier.

The Three Lions edged out a 2-1 win over Italy at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday, with goals from Declan Rice and Harry Kane.

The match was the first time that England had won away in Italy since 1961 and was likely their hardest game in this qualifying campaign, putting the Azzurri in a difficult spot straight from the outset.

Italy’s defeat came almost exactly a year after their World Cup play-off heartbreak against North Macedonia and questions are seriously being asked of Mancini, who did not resign after failing to secure qualification to the tournament in Qatar.

La Gazzetta dello Sport were clearly unimpressed, saying: “Bad first half, storming second half,” warning the coach to “stop with gratitude, especially in the middle, or it’ll end like in Qatar.”

Corriere dello Sport agreed with this assessment of the first half, noting how Mancini “threw away the first 45 minutes”, but suggested that his changes “gave clues about a project to relaunch.”

Tuttosport looked at the Italy coach’s squad selections for this international break, suggesting that “he wins the Retegui bet, but loses the one of relying on the core of the European Championships, especially in midfield where England overpowered the Azzurri.”

Corriere della Sera painted a relatively grim picture for the Azzurri’s future, saying: “The many absences do not justify the first half of an almost lost Italy. The road is long. And uphill.”

Mancini’s ratings in the Italian newspapers

La Gazzetta dello Sport: 5.5

Corriere dello Sport: 5.5

Tuttosport: 5

Corriere della Sera: 5.5

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