“It feels almost as if conceding a goal at the 92nd minute was fitting.”
Roberto Mancini was coy about his future as Italy manager following the Azzurri’s 1-0 defeat to North Macedonia in the World Cup play-off semi-final on Thursday night.
Italy dominated the game but couldn’t break the deadlock before their opponents scored in stoppage time in Palermo to advance to the playoff final, where they will play Portugal.
R0berto Mancini speaks about his Italy future.
Less than a year after winning Euro 2020, Italy have hit rock bottom and miss out on the World Cup for the second consecutive tournament,
At full time, Mancini was visibly shocked at what he had just witnessed. Italy had 32 attempts on goal over the course of 90 minutes, whilst controlling the tempo of the match with 70 per cent possession.
The former Manchester City manager kept his cards close to his chest when asked about his future as the Italian coach.
“We will see. I think everyone is too disappointed right now to talk about the future,” said Mancini, who is under contract until 2026.
Italy will not play at the World Cup later this year ?
North Macedonia have eliminated the European champions in the play-off semifinal ? pic.twitter.com/eQFAeWwLqU
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 24, 2022
Mancini on the highs and lows of managing Italy.
Mancini described winning Euro 2020 as “the most wonderful experience of my life,” in comparison to the North Macedonia loss being “the biggest disappointment.”
“Just as the Euros was the most wonderful experience of my life, this was the biggest disappointment.
“We can say nothing, that is football, sometimes incredible things happen and it happened,” he said.
Mancini vents his frustration.
Mancini described North Macedonia’s stoppage-time winner as “fitting,” after they defended wave after wave of Italy attacks all game.
The 57-year-old also vented his frustration at being in the World Cup playoffs.
Jorginho missed penalties in both of Italy’s matches against Switzerland in their qualification group, and the Azzurri played out a goalless draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast.
As a result, the Italians finished second in the group and entered the playoffs.
“We shouldn’t have been here in the first place, but we did everything we could to win and it’s hard to even talk about it,” he said.
“We dominated the group, all we needed was one of those moments to go well, but neither of them did.
“Tonight, it feels almost as if conceding a goal at the 92nd minute was fitting.”