Roberto Mancini was not surprised that his Italy team were drawn with England in Euro 2024 qualifying on Saturday in yet another rematch of last year’s European Championship final won by the Azzurri.
Italy were crowned kings of Europe by beating England on penalties at Wembley in July last year and again got the better of Gareth Southgate’s team in this year’s Nations League.
Italy made it through to the final four of the Nations League and sent England down to League B, which led to the two teams being drawn in Group C alongside Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta.
England’s relegation put them in Pot 2 for Saturday’s draw in Frankfurt while Italy were among the top seeds for qualifying for the tournament in Germany.
“I knew that we’d get either England or France, but that’s OK. It’s a decent five-team group, no easy matches but all ones we can have a go at,” said Mancini to RAI Sport.
Mancini will have the chance to gain some sort of revenge on North Macedonia, who threw the newly-minted European champions into a national crisis in March by dumping them out of next month’s World Cup in the qualifying playoffs.
The defeat to the minnows in Palermo meant Italy will miss out on their second straight World Cup after also losing in the qualifying playoffs for the 2018 tournament.
“It’s one of those matches that you get every now and again, and as we saw in Palermo we have to take every match seriously, even those that seem the simplest,” added Mancini.
“The World Cup is a cut that will bleed right to the end, we can only heal it by winning the next one.”
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