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Italy reaping the benefits of Roberto Mancini’s magic touch

Italy defeated Lithuania 2-0 to continue their fine form.
Italy defeated Lithuania 2-0 to continue their fine form.
ANALYST
Modified 01 Apr 2021
Feature

It’s been a frustrating last few years for Italy, but it’s fair to say that the Azzurri are back to their best. They may not have too many big names in their squad, but they have a rock-solid roster.

Under Roberto Mancini, Italy have evolved from an underperforming side to one that delivers consistent results. Needless to say, Italy have been in imperious form in the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

On Wednesday, goals from Stefano Sensi and Ciro Immobile saw the Azzurri beat Lithuania 2-0 away to go atop Group C. In a one-sided game, Italy dominated for large swathes. The visitors had 29 shots against Lithuania, with 11 of them on target.

Italy maintain perfect record in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Italy have been by far the most consistent team in the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; Mancini’s side have won all three of their games thus far.

Even more impressive is the fact that the Azzurri are yet to concede a goal. They started their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against Northern Ireland before beating Bulgaria by the same scoreline in their next outing.

The Azzurri then beat Kosovo 2-0 to take control of their group. Switzerland will be Italy’s main contenders, but Mancini’s side are favourites to win the group.

On current form, Italy are one of Europe’s best teams, having gone unbeaten in their last 25 games. They currently look very solid in both defence and attack.

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Roberto Mancini’s magical touch transforming Italy's fortunes

Roberto Mancini has completely transformed Italy's fortunes since taking charge. Under his tutelage, the Azzurri are through to this summer's Euros and are on course to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The 56-year-old boasts a fabulous record as Italy boss. He has already equalled Marcelo Lippi’s record of 25 matches unbeaten at the Italy helm. Mancini will now look to go past Vittorio Pozzo, who had a 30-game unbeaten streak with the Azzurri.

"I'm happy we are top of the group. It's pleasing, but records are standalone issues compared to real results. I hope to match Lippi at the World Cup, maybe in December 2022,” Mancini said after Italy’s win over Kosovo, as quoted by BeSoccer.

Surprisingly, Italy are not among the favourites at Euro 2020, but the Azzurri have become a formidable side under Roberto Mancini and could be the team to beat at the quadrennial tournament.

Published 01 Apr 2021, 14:38 IST
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