Mancini: ‘Italy can hopefully win World Cup’

by | Nov 15, 2021 22:00

Roberto Mancini admits Italy ‘should’ve sealed the group long before it came to this’ after their draw in Northern Ireland, but after analysing his regrets, insists they will ‘book our place in the World Cup in March and hopefully win the tournament too.’

Northern Ireland 0-0 Italy: Play-Offs needed for World Cup

The Azzurri won UEFA EURO 2020 only four months ago, but they need play-offs to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after a 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland.

Switzerland thrashed Bulgaria 4-0 to top the group, as ultimately the two stalemates in the head-to-heads proved decisive, with Jorginho failing to convert a penalty in each one.

For the second edition in a row, Italy must go through play-offs before booking their World Cup spot and that will be in March.

“We can’t do anything about it now, we have this game in March and will try to give our best,” Mancini told RAI Sport.

“At the moment, we are struggling to score goals, despite dominating possession and the initiative. Northern Ireland put everyone in defence 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 characterised us up until today. We had two missed penalties in the decisive matches, so that shows we had the chances to win.”

Along with the two draws against Switzerland, which saw Jorginho fail to convert a penalty in each match, Italy also lost out because of their draw with Bulgaria.

“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 play-offs confident. We’ll book our place in the World Cup in March and hopefully win the tournament too.”


  1. Tony

    Win the tournament?? Is he delusional? How did this team get so bad so fast?

  2. Boozy

    Too caught up in not being defeated, forgot how to win games

  3. PaoLo

    He’s lost it, I don’t see how we will qualify because the teams we will likely draw are the exact teams we struggle against the most.

  4. AM

    Tony, they have the same problem they had at the Euros – no reliable, true centre-forward with a combination of skill, aerial ability and strength. They compensated for this in other ways at the Euros, and played very well as a whole. But, eventually this was going to catch up to them. There is no true reference point up top to build around – i.e. the likes of Vlahovic, Kane, Lukaku, Zapata, Haaland, etc. And unfortunately, there are none coming up the ranks either.

  5. Dx

    They wont pass the group stage if they cant score goal. Dont be silly Mancio

  6. Mr lazio

    Poor tonight! Poor since the Euros! Let’s remember we won that after two penalty shootouts and extra time against Austria so this team has had its luck! I’m still confident and believe

  7. Aslam

    Excuse me i think for winning the tournament, you should qualify first.

    Sorry for italian fans wait for another heartbreak in March 2022.

    Try to digest it Italy already out of world cup.


    they are slow and predictable. and to top it off gli azzurri are anything but clinical in front of goal. I don’t think we get by whoever we play in the March Playoff. . .

  9. Fab

    Balotelli is legit the only decent striker choice for Italy. Really hope he starts banging in goals in Turkey so he gets a look. I don’t care what problems he has, he always played well for Italy. Belotti is a waste of a player on the field and immobile is great in serie A, but can’t score internationally.

  10. marx

    Balotelli is miles better than Immobile and Belotti. What is he waiting for? This team had the same problems at the Euros. He cannot assume to fix the problem with the same parts.

  11. Anon

    After all these years back to 32 year old Balotelli, who couldn’t score any goals for Brescia !!!!

  12. Gel

    Jorginho & Mancini should dress up as Laurel & Hardy respectively and Mancini should say to Jorginho, “Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

  13. Twsfaye

    Italy will.qualify

  14. Roy

    Mancini has to take load of the blame. He should’ve taken off Jorghino from penalty duties after 2 misses in a row. He made a big mistake of not starting Chiesa in the away match with Swiss. When anyways we are not scoring with the forwards we have why not try Lucca or give Scamacca a proper chance?? I think Destro and Politano should’ve been given a chance. Team is too predictable and with many players off .. new hungry energetic players should have been brought in. Fratessi?? Di Lorenzo is a defensive liability .. Calabria, Darmian, Di Marco should play instead. But who will replace Bonucci and Chiellini going forward with current stop gap Acerbi another liability! Can Mancini and Bastoni pairing work??

    I don’t know how the playoffs work but to look from a positive point of view just qualifying after last misses wouldn’t suffice and then go and perform badly in the tournament .. so instead having to work hard to get there .. sorting out all the issues will only be helpful going forward. Hopefully we don’t have so many injuries going into the Playoffs and get back Spinazzola in top form along with the likes of Pellegrini and Verratti, also with Chiellini back!

    Very disheartened and upset .. but still hopeful we’ll qualify 🤞Forza Azzurri Sempre 🇮🇹👍👊💙

  15. Tonym

    Dont know if Italy will qualify for world cup.
    They seem to be lacking ideas and quality to break average teams down and this has cost them.
    The team of the Euros and champions seem distant memory.

    Northern Ireland played well tonight and Italy never dominated
    But at the end of the day they were playing like a championship side…not France,Spain,England etc etc

  16. Joe

    Some valid points Roy. But very disheartening that the options you noted up front play in Serie B and on the bench at Sassuolo, respectively. This shows the key problem and how bad it is up front. Major liability.

  17. suji

    We missed Spinazola a lot.

  18. Dennis

    This is on Mancini as his choices left a lot to be desired. A game you needed to win did not need a player as limited as Di Lorenzo. How many times was he the free man and not do anything with his chances?

    Emerson was poor as all he did was take too many touches then only to pass the ball sideways or back to usually Acerbi.

    Why do managers pick Cristante? I honestly do not know what he offers and to bring him on for Tonali in such a game was pointless as he offers absolutely nothing even for Roma.

    Another problem is too many very good club players that are not just international class e.g Immobile, Belotti, Acerbi, to some extent Insigne and Berardi.

    You have the likes of the waste of space Bernadeschi.

    Where was the pace and verve of the early part of the Euros? As soon as they reached the 2nd round they reverted back to type.

    Spain completely played them off the park in the semis.

    The only player that I am confident in that could score given chances is Chiesa. If Insigne is through like he was tonight he does not fill me with any confidence that he would score.

    Barela needs a rest and also has to show composure when he is in the penalty box as even though he was better tonight than he was against the Swiss (he was dreadful) when in the box he seems to mess up.

    The made Johnny Evans look like Baresi today, they were that bad. Too slow on the ball, no quick passes and off the ball movements and some really dreadful corner kicks.

    A game they needed to win, to put in this kind of performance was really embarrassing.

    Quicker players are needed and like Spain the badly need a quality striker as neither team has any chance in hell of winning the world cup with the present players they both have.

  19. Paolo

    I do not care anymore. To think Portugal and Italy not making it and England going to get the mother of all easy draws in Qatar. I bet Germany, France and Brazil will mess up early. I better start praying to the gods from tomorrow.

  20. Santino Sirignano

    Utterly Shameful, from the absolute highs to the absolute low. These players should be Embarrassed. How they’ve fallen so far is astounding. Humilation of not topping a group like ours. Hate scapegoating but most of this is on Jorginho. His arrogance and showboating has cost us. No way we winning the play offs. Now we have a painful 4 months ( a lifetime) to have confirmed we are not making the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. As far as im concerned its over. Our injuries are either gonna be better or likely worse by then given the domestic season schedules. Looks like Buonanotte to a 2nd consecutive world cup. Oh well being European Champions for another 3 years will keep me going! Still will take me a while to get over this :/

  21. Carlo

    So many issues with this team, as already highlighted here. But I cannot understand why everyone wants DeLorenzo’s head rather than Emerson? I get it, DeLo isnt the best defender but at least he knows how to go forward, hit a cross and even scores goals for us. Today he more chances than our entire forward line.

    Genuine question…if Emerson had to take a penalty would he shoot it sideways or backwards? Because the guy has no idea how to move forward. We might as well be playing with 9 outfield players.

    Watching our CB’s and Emerson pass it sideways all game, and Bonucci balloon long passes to nobody is nauseating. If this if what we have to look forward to at the WC I aint going to bother.

  22. Tom

    Man what is this guy smoking I really want some of that . Win the World Cup ? Hahah you can’t even get there in this group as euro champs is an embarrassment

  23. who me

    what have they done ?!
    its like theyre canceling themselves.
    if they get Sweden again its fixed.
    but imagine how much money$ would be riding on that game/s.

  24. Marco

    Back pass, side pass, back pass again………what kind of performance was this??? Mancini saw it, did nothing until too late and didn’t stuck with the forward flops. Bernadeschi and bell who… no wonder we couldn’t score


    Ciao Amici!
    please have fait in Gli Azzurri!
    Are we forgeting how many injuries we had?????!!!!!!!
    We still are in it and don’t think we would lose to like of Portugal and Sweden!!!!


    Sorry meant PERCHE noi siamo Italia!

  27. Dal

    There is no way to win the World Cup unless a true striker is developed. The strategy that win the Euros is now old and other teams are prepared.
    To make matter worst, they are not all our running f at the opposition as they did at the Euros. They are trying to play like Spain- let’s pass the ball around and if someone gets free try to get to him. It cannot work
    and they may not even qualify. They need to run at the opposition amd bring the ball to the box. Develop Scamacca – at least he has the height to get to the ball in the air.

  28. Frankie

    They need to make the goals 40 feet wider and 30 feet taller then maybe we can get a kick on target
    Jorghino 2 missed penalties and a draw against Bulgaria is an embarrassment

  29. Italian all the way

    This is what happen when foreign players become majority in seria A. The generational destruction of our foundation started showing signs last failure but know the cracks are becoming faults and eventually the earthquake will come. This isn’t beyond manning this goes all the way up to the Italian government and all it’s corruption.

  30. Sulaiman Bah

    Italy, always be my Team. but the issues is they lack strong midfield and attacking, to score goal, hope they are not drawn with Sweden, or Poland or and good team.. now Italy have 50% chance to make it to the world cup. hoping no disaster

  31. Tony at

    When a country wins major tournament those same players must be replaced. Look at history of teams who won major tournament
    Take Italy 1982 same team in 1986 did nothing then next 2006 then in 2010 didn’t not get out of group stages.

    You need start a fresh new players hungry for the shirt you need striker we’re not Spain who have false number 9 .

  32. Paolo

    We can analyse all we want from blaming the players to Mancini. It is very simple if we do not qualify from the playoffs we deserve not to go. If a team cannot defeat Bulgaria and fail to score against Northern Ireland you reap what you sow and it is that simple case closed. Even if we had England’s group I am sure we would have only scored 2 against San Marino. I like Mancini but if he does not make it sorry a Euro is not going to be enough as not being in the WC again would be untenable.

  33. dangerboy

    Italy owes Giampiero Ventura an apology.

    When Italian players are down to 35% in your own league, where will players be discovered? They are buried in the lower leagues.

    When team presidents would rather pluck an African and South American, feed and clothe him from childhood to adulthood instead of getting an Italian player, well, these are the results. Just now on this site there is an article on how Milan are bringing over a 16 YO Paraguayan. 1 less spot for an Italian kid. No other league, minus the EPL, is openly hostile to their own players.

    Paolo Maldini, ex NT Captain. He is the HNIC over there at Milan and he does it as well. But notice how his son has a spot on the First Team?

    When the Government makes tax breaks for teams to get foriegn players, give out passports to every player whose last name ends jn a vowel citing some Great ×10 grandparent they recently discovered, this is the result!

  34. Roy

    Thanks @Joe. Agree mate. Hopefully we can still make it 🤞 FORZA AZZURRI 🇮🇹👊💙

  35. Will

    Hard to explain but it’s in your gut. We know when we (Italy) are going to advance and know when we are going to fail. 13 months prior to Euro 2020, I was 99.9 % certain that Italy would win the tournament when it was finally staged, regardless of how far away it was going to be, and on the opposite side of the scale, was 99.9 % sure they would end up in the playoffs which was confirmed today ….and don’t have a good feeling of what’s to come. Hopefully my gut feel will be wrong ..for once.

  36. Vittorio

    Don’t know what to say.

    1. Perhaps we need to look at Seria B as well.

    2. Mostly agree with Dangerboy. Only difference would be the argument that we played quite well in Basel as THAT was the game that cost us automatic qualification.

    3. The playoff semi finals and final are single elimination. Thus, our opponents will have the motivation to push forward. This is designed to incentivize teams to seek winning over defensive postures. As a result, greater opportunities to score with more open play.

    4. #3 was a paraphrasing of Mancini’s after match press comments. I happen to agree.

    Let’s hope for the best. We still have a talented squad and are seeded.

    Dangerboy and others…thoughts?

    Am I too hopeful?

  37. Berlusconi's Milan

    We need at least two clinical strikers if we were to qualify, I say two because what if one got injured or sent off? The truth is we haven’t got one, let alone two, we’re becoming too predictable, Mancini you need a plan B & C

  38. Solointer

    Its no surprise that after he taken out his best players they failed to create anything even when there was more pressure to score. What do you expect when Jorginho,Barella and Insigne all taken out. After that the only threat was Chiesa who wouldn’t get any simple pass all match because Emerson just refuses to do so and goes sideways. Northern Ireland got them exactly how they wanted them when all Italy can do was to cross and hope for the best. He should’ve at least leave insigne for a bit creativity and get a lucky penalty but the last 20 mins were doomed for failure because the players were just bad.

  39. For the next game

    Chiesa raspadori Berardi
    Locatelli jorginho Verratti/barella
    Di Marco Chiellini Bonucci darmian


  40. Moomu

    Caprari should be called up to the squad instead of Raspadori. Nicolò Rovella and Davide Frattesi are playing better than Cristante.

  41. Usman YUSUFi don't even

    I don’t think the Azzuri might even be in the world cup

  42. pele

    the team looked totally confused last night mancini said in his pre match italy would unlock NI with quick passing what a load of tosh they couldnt have played any slower,
    mancini also said that after septembers draw against bulgaria that italy are always slow starters and would inprove later what happens they get wors
    thank him for the euros and get rid
    italy need to adopt atalanta’s dynamic style of play get gasparini

  43. Anthony

    The comments I’m reading are dumb. Italy is still able to qualify. Yes the #9 is missing but they have time and other ways to get this right and qualify.

  44. Roy

    @Anthony 🤞

  45. Will

    Three and a bit months for playoff’s is not a bad thing. It will allow the required players to get fit and help the team get their mojo back. But agree re the comments made about trends. Once an Italian Team have won a major tournament, it’s back to pressure of what’s expected. Hence why Euro 2020 was a success. Far less pressure as anything is better than not qualifying.

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