Roberto Mancini admits Italy should have sealed the top of their group long before their game in Northern Ireland, but reiterated his confidence that his team can get past the playoffs and win the 2022 World Cup.
Italy just won UEFA Euro 2020 just four months ago, but they need the playoffs to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after a 0-0 draw at home to Northern Ireland.
Controlling up to 72 percent of possession, Italy was made difficult by the hosts who applied defensive tactics and piled up players in their defense, while Azurri also possible streak of not conceding late in the game when Gianluigi Donnarumma made a mistake by coming out of the net.
While Switzerland managed to beat Bulgaria 4-0 at Swissporarena in the other match, meaning Xherdan Shaqiri and his friends have the right to displace Italy from the top of the standings to book automatic qualification tickets to the upcoming 2022 World Cup.
For the second edition in a row, Italy will have to go through the playoffs before booking their World Cup place and that will be in March. However, it should be noted that in the previous edition, Azurri eliminated at the hands of Sweden and missed the 2018 World Cup.
“We can’t do anything now, we have this game in March and will try to give our best,” Roberto Mancini told reporters. RAI Sports. “Too bad, because we should have sealed our group long before it came to this kind of situation.”
“Now we are preparing for March’s game and we are going into the playoffs with confidence. We will book our place at the World Cup in March and hopefully win the tournament too.”