Roberto Mancini, the manager of Italy’s national football team, says that the delay of UEFA Euro 2020 can work in favor of Italy.
Under Mancini’s leadership since 2018, the Italian team has made a comeback. It was big news when Italy did not get to play during the 2018 World Cup for the first time since 1958, losing to Sweden in a qualification game. This year, however, with Mancini’s guidance, the team managed to qualify for Euro 2020, having a 100 percent win record and 11 consecutive wins.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the strict safety measures that the countries are taking to stop its spread, a lot of sporting events are currently experiencing delays or even cancellations. For instance, two of Italy’s friendly matches are being postponed, as well as the games planned for June and July. Besides this, UEFA decided to hold Euro 2020 in summer next year.
The news of the delay of such a significant sporting event as Euro 2020 evoked a lot of discussions, especially from football fans. Mancini says that for Italy’s team, the postponement may be beneficial. However, the fact that his players won’t be able to train for ten months will surely create some challenges.
According to Mancini, if Italy would play in Euro 2020 in June, there would be a good chance for the team to win the championship. Nevertheless, he mentions that long-established teams, such as France, began training long before Italy did and could pose to be fierce competitors. With another year of preparation, Italian players will have an opportunity to improve even more and gain additional experience.
Mancini also added that he hopes to stay on as Italy’s coach and bring the team to its first victory at the Euros since 1968. He stated that he is confident that the Italian national football team can compete with the best in the league. The latest game that Italy played was with Armenia in November, where they won 9-1. Italy’s next unaffected match in the schedule is in September.
Mancini admits that playing will be somewhat challenging for the team, as they have not met for months now. When the team finally reunites in September, it will have been approximately one year since their last meeting. After that, the team will have a schedule full of such major events as the Nations League, Euro 2020, and the upcoming World Cup. Mancini added that the national team would not have a lot of chances to practice.
He also commented on the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic. As of now, Italy has over 132,500 official cases of the coronavirus, with more than 16,500 deaths. Globally, there are approximately 1.7 million cases of infection and counting. Mancini acknowledged that the current circumstances are stirring up “great bitterness” among the global sports community. He also said that it is hard to accept the loss of so many people. He expressed sadness for the thousands of affected families and admitted that at such a grief-stricken time, football takes second place.