Italy Boss Roberto Mancini Praises England

Italy boss Roberto Mancini has heaped praise on England and his side after beating ‘one of the best teams in the world.’ Gli Azzurri claimed a narrow 1-0 victory at Giuseppe Meazza on Friday, courtesy of Giacomo Raspadori’s moment of brilliance midway through the second half.

Raspadori’s phenomenal strike from just inside the box after receiving a delightful long ball from Leonardo Bonucci sealed England’s relegation to the second tier of the UEFA Nations League. Meanwhile, a hard-earned victory means Italy could secure a playoff berth in League A should they beat Group A3 leaders Hungary on Monday. 

With his side now back in contention for the semi-finals progression, Mancini deems Gli Azzurri’s triumph over Harry Kane & Co ‘very important.’

It is very important, as it gives us a sense of calm to be top seeds for the draw. We also have the chance to top the group and (we) beat England, one of the best teams in the world,” he said, as relayed by the Daily Mail.

As for England, Friday’s underwhelming showing in Milan took their winless streak to five matches for the first time since 2014. It’s also the first time under Gareth Southgate that they’ve failed to win five times in a row. But more importantly, the Three Lions have not scored from open play in all five Group A3 outings.

However, Italy head Mancini believes that England’s embarrassing Nations League performances have not affected their status as one of the World Cup favorites. 

You [England] are in the World Cup and that is the most important. My opinion is that England is one of the best teams in the world even if they lose the game. They can have a good chance in the World Cup.

Italy will take a trip to Budapest on Monday to meet Hungary in a ‘winner takes all’ encounter. In the meantime, England will try to salvage some pride against Germany in the ultimate round. Southgate’s men have no margin for error in front of the home Wembley Stadium crowd as their final test ahead of the Qatar World Cup.