Mancini and Italy’s biggest regret one year after Euro 2020

by | Jun 12, 2022 14:27

One year ago, Italy had just begun their Euro 2020 campaign and today, the Azzurri have a massive regret over their failed attempt to qualify for the World Cup, although Roberto Mancini will never admit it, writes Lorenzo Bettoni.

The Azzurri are still unbeaten in their Nations League group after collecting draws against Germany and England and beating Marco Rossi’s Hungary. They lost the Finalissima against Argentina at Wembley Stadium at the beginning of May, but the following performances have been more than convincing, even if the Azzurri are still looking for a centre-forward who can turn the many chances created into goals.

Mancini has filled the team with many youngsters after the Finalissima. The likes of Davide Frattesi, Wilfried Gnonto, Tommaso Pobega, Federico Gatti, Samuele Ricci, Matteo Cancellieri and Salvatore Esposito made their debut during the last few games, showing enthusiasm and quality.

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Frattesi and Pobega were already known to Calcio lovers, given that they got regular playing time this season for Sassuolo and Torino. The same goes for Samuele Ricci, who played for Empoli and the Granata.

Gatti signed with Juventus in January but remained out on loan at Frosinone in Serie B, while Gnonto was the real surprise in this round of games. The 18-year-old is a product of Inter‘s academy but joined Zurich on a free transfer in 2020. He hasn’t yet scored at a senior level with the Azzurri, but delivered an assist for Lorenzo Pellegrini on his debut against Germany last week.

After the opening three Nations League games and looking at some of their youngsters, Italy have even more regrets regarding their World Cup failure. They still have issues that must be fixed, especially in the final third, but the quality is there.

Three errors made by Mancini in Italy’s World Cup fiasco

Mancini has plenty of options in midfield, which he didn’t really use before the last few games. When Italy faced North Macedonia in March, many players in the middle of the park were exhausted, but the coach still deployed them because he considered the likes of Nicolò Barella and Jorginho (just to name two) more reliable than Tonali or Pellegrini, who looked fresher than their compatriots.

Aside from the midfielders, Mancio generally remained loyal to the group of players that had won the Euros a year earlier. This is one of the reasons why the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the second successive time. This is not to say that the CT should have used inexperienced players in key games, but the Azzurri needed a breath of fresh air, which they hadn’t had for months after last year’s European triumph.

Their journey to the Euros began a year ago (June 11, 2021, against Turkey) and nobody would imagine seeing Italy become European champions at that time. Likewise, it was largely unexpected to see the Azzurri miss out on a second consecutive World Cup only eight months after lifting the cup at Wembley Stadium.

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After the Final against England, the Azzurri had a mix of poor performances and bad luck, but although Mancio will never admit it, his loyalty to some of the players who had won the Euros also affected La Nazionale. Italy needed more courage from the coach and Mancini has now taken a new path. The Azzurri seem to have an exciting future ahead, although not seeing them play in Qatar hurts even more now.



  1. Vincenzo Coppola

    Italy did OK against italy gatyi did well too.

    Does anyone know when the gewiss arena is going to be completef

  2. Adi

    Italy Shud be at that world cup really unlucky I trust Mancini but he Shud have brought players like pellegrini in after the euros and few others that. Immobile must never wear a Italy shirt again donkey

  3. R. Bonora

    Italy won the Euro without an out and out striker. The dance stopped and now they are rebuilding.

  4. Fatecisognare

    The difference was Spinazzola and especially, Chiesa. Without those two, Italy became toothless. I hope the new kids sharpen their aim but Chiesa can’t come back soon enough.

  5. Stefano

    Anyone know why Griffo is not on this team? I would think a star player in the Bundesliga who specializes in free kicks and penalties (a player we don’t have on the team for years now)

    Would be good to have? No? What am I missing here?

  6. Brandon

    This team had 1/8 Finals in them had they went to Qatar.


    Don’t watch the Budesliga, but with that old guard would Grifo really have usurped any of them?

    I read he was bitter about not being on the Euro team.


    Pellegrini would have been on the team that won the EC but he got injured in Training about a week before the tournament started. Matteo Pessina was his replacement.

  7. Matt

    @Brandon I thought Pessina replaced Sensi and Castrovilli replaced Pellegrini based on the squad numbers they took

  8. Brandon

    Just checked my Instagram. You are correct Matt. Mancio called a few extra players and was expected to make cuts.

    – Pessina never went home and stayed at Coverciano when Sensi got hurt.

    – Castrovilli was sent home, started his vacation abroad, then was called back when Pellegrini got hurt.

    For added info, Kean was expected to stay with the team but instead was sent home in favor of Raspadori.

  9. Brandon

    In retrospect, after the Euros, I found Mancio tried his hardest to instill a sense of calmness and tranquility.

    Perhaps a different approach was needed for these bums. One of urgency.

    The only time I saw the need for urgency, post-Euro, was ahead of the Lithuania match when he stressed the need to go for goals so if it came down to a TieBreaker, we would have it. The team responded then.

    Would have liked to have seen less of the September excuses that we see every 2 years.

    Don’t fault him for being loyal. It was on the players.

  10. Mike

    It’s still very depressing that this team won’t be at the World Cup . who cares about euro 2024 they haven’t done anything in a World Cup since 2006 . That is not acceptable for a nation with their tradition

  11. Fatecisognare

    @Mike If Italy win 2024, I think a lot of people would care, actually. England have been at most world cups since 66 and won none so other than making up the numbers and making nice songs, what’s the value in that? We’ve got to be tournament ready which means being capable of winning, not just turning up and being the best at exercising.


    If Jorginho had have scored either of those penalties against Switzerland we would be going to Doha Farken

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