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Why Italy should keep faith in Roberto Mancini despite World Cup disappointment

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Italy crashed out of the World Cup play-offs suffering a surprising 1-0 defeat to North Macedonia.

The Azzurri emerged as one of the potential title contenders for Qatar 2022 after their heroic Euro 2020 triumph.

But in less than ten months after enjoying a glorious night at Wembley, Italy saw the other side of the coin as they missed out on their second World Cup in a row.

After such a catastrophe, the manager’s head is usually the first to roll. Not qualifying for football’s showpiece event is a massive failure for a team like Italy, who have four world titles to their name.

Will Roberto Mancini face the music?

Italian football governance body FIGC had tied down Mancini till 2026.

The former Manchester City manager had led the resurgence of Italian football following their dismal 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.

But did he bank enough credit to retain his job?

Italy did not lose a single match in the qualifiers before the play-offs.

But, they dropped points in four out of their eight games.

Draws against Switzerland, who won the group, were particularly damaging.

This is even more unbearable because they missed penalties in both of their matches against their Central European neighbours.

They would have gone through without the playoffs had they taken their chances.

The margin of error was so narrow for Mancini’s men that it would not make a lot of sense to pin the blame on the management.

A handful of games should not undo the years of good work Roberto Mancini and his coaching staff did.

Mancini changed the DNA

Roberto Mancini brought about a fundamental change in Italy’s game.

He ditched the conservative approach that had been synonymous with the Italian team and implemented a more dynamic, attacking style.

During his tenure, Italy became a more balanced side, being as ruthless up front as resilient in the back.

As a result, Italy qualified for the Euros with three games in hand, lifted the Euro 2020 trophy, made it to the last four of the UEFA Nation’s League, and went on a world record 37-match unbeaten streak.

It would be illogical to lose sight of these incredible achievements over the last four years.

Commitment to youth

Another reason to back Mancini is his commitment to youth footballers.

Mancini has put maximum emphasis on promoting young Italian talents.

Since taking over the reins, he has capped 35 players and has been in constant contact with Serie A clubs with promising young Italian players.

With many of Italy’s key players approaching retirement, Italy will be going through a transition period with an influx of fresh blood in the coming years.

Roberto Mancini’s track record suggests he is the perfect man to oversee that process and help Italy recover from the setback of missing another World Cup.

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FOOTBALL

WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo performs obscene gestures as fans chant Lionel Messi’s name

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

During the Saudi Pro League game between Al Shabab and Al Nassr, Nassr skipper Cristiano Ronaldo was seen making obscene gestures towards rival fans. The Shabab fans were chanting Ronaldo’s biggest rival Lionel Messi’s name. Not for the first time though, some Saudi football fans do prefer Messi over the Portuguese player. Meanwhile, during the game on Sunday, the Portugal international crossed all the limits as he made some obscene gestures.

Watch the video here

Talking about the game, the Yellow Brigade, Nassr won against Shabab. Ronaldo gave his team as he made the most of the penalty in the 21st minute of the game. However, in the injury time of the first half, Yannick Carrasco scored an equalizer before going into the break. In the first minute of the second half, Anderson Talisca gave a lead to Nassr. In the 67th minute, Carlos scored the equalizer for Shabab, and the game looked like ending in a tie before Talisca scored the match-winning goal in the 86th minute.

Meanwhile, the former Real Madrid player is set to face disciplinary action. As per the Saudi writer and television host, the disciplinary committee might take action.

“The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see. Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are. This is how the major leagues are” Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, said on X.

Cristiano Ronaldo faced disciplinary action during his stint with Manchester United

A few months before the FIFA World Cup 2022, he threw a fan’s phone when he was part of the English club, Manchester United. He was banned for a few games which meant that he missed a few games for his current club, Nassr. However, the ban didn’t apply in the World Cup as he was available for selection during the tournament, in which his team lost the Quarterfinal to Morrocco.

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Virgil Van Dijk’s late strike in extra time helps Liverpool beat Chelsea in Carabao Cup final

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Liverpool emerged victorious in the Carabao Cup final in 2024. In a thrilling game which was full of twists and turns, Liverpool managed to beat Chelsea to clinch the cup. Jurgen Klopp’s men were awarded with the winner’s medal as they edged out Chelsea in a low-scoring thriller that went to extra time. The defence of both sides was good to watch.

The match had many edge-of-the-seat moments. In the first half, Liverpool attempted a lot of shots over Chelsea. While some were out of target, some were in the target, but stopped by the goalkeeper. Cody Gakpo was unlucky to find the ball hit the goalpost. The strike of the youngster went in vain as the first half did not witness any goal.

Liverpool’s skipper was brilliant in the game. He martialed his troops well and got the coordination going for a long time. He in fact nearly had a goal in the first half, only to be ruled out by the VAR, which was highly controversial. There is a debate for the legitimacy of the goal which was not given despite the help of the technology. Liverpool did not get carried away with the moment.

Captain brilliant Virgil Van Dijk steps up in crunch moments

Klopp deployed younger players as substitutes in the 2nd half. It helped Liverpool a lot as they were able to not just put pressure on Chelsea but also create a lot of chances. While none of them were converted to goals in the second half, they ensured that Chelsea’s players were in check. At one stage, the absence of Mohammad Salah in the middle was felt.

The match went to the extra time, where things got a bit closer. Chelsea attempted to score goals but ended up giving more advantage to Liverpool. The younger legs marked well and provided good assists to the forwards. The moment came in the 118th minute of the game, when Van Dijk netted the goal and helped Liverpool to win the prestigious title.

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Virat Kohli picks his ‘Sporting GOAT’

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Virat Kohli was asked to pick his ‘Sporting GOAT’ in a recent interview. The star cricketer was interviewed by Team Blue Rising who asked him to name the greatest sportsperson of all time. “Who is your Sporting GOAT?” asked the host to the star batter. Kohli did not hesitate to take the name of one of the greatest Football players as his pick for the question.

The Indian batter claimed Cristiano Ronaldo to be the greatest Football player of all time. “For me, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Virat in the interview. It came as no surprise to the fans, as Virat has always been a huge admirer of the star Footballer. Even in the past, the 35-year-old has expressed his admiration for the star player from Portugal.

In many instances, the Indian batter has claimed Ronaldo to be his favourite player. Ronaldo has been one of the best players the sport has ever seen. Many claim him to be arguably the greatest Sportsperson of all time. Virat has joined the list of those to claim him to be the greatest athlete in the sports world. Ronaldo has some records to back his claim for the title.

Legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Virat Kohli

The Portuguese Footballer has the greatest number of goals for an international team. He also has the greatest number of international caps for a player. The star player is the only player to win four major cups with two different clubs. He did it with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Cristiano has the second most number of Ballon d’Or titles (Five) after Lionel Messi.

Virat, on the other hand, is a great cricketer. He has the greatest number of hundreds for a batter in ODIs. Virat has the greatest number of hundreds in ODIs while chasing. He is also the highest run scorer for India in T20Is. Kohli has the most runs for a batter in the IPL. He has the greatest number of POTT awards for a player in the T20 WC and the ODI WC.

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