• Our Opinion

Italy on track with Mancini

Getty Images

Since being nominated the manager of the national team, Roberto Mancini has helped Italy rediscover its identity in the game.

As things stand, Roberto Mancini can enjoy a relatively calm break now that the international break is over. The Azzurri have done well in the European qualification campaign after registering important wins over Armenia and Finland.

The game at the Tampere Stadion was expected to be a tough one for Mancini and co. buoyed by the excellent Teemu Pukki and Lukas Hradecky, the Huuhkajat were very close to winning a valuable point.

It was a slow start against the plucky Finns but Italy had enough experience and guile to make a game out of this encounter and seal valuable three points.

Cleary, the arrival of Roberto Mancini has made fans forget about the forgettable time they had when Giampiero Ventura was at the helm of affairs. There was a time when Italy struggled against smaller teams.

Now though, the same team is doing well in games it used to struggle in till last year.

Ciro Immobile was expected to do big things for the national team. For 733 days, the striker hadn’t scored a goal. However, it was him who opened the scoring against Finland. The Lazio man has been in fine form in the Serie A and his club form is definitely proving to be very valuable to Roberto Mancini.

Stefano Sensi is another player who has literally come to life in Serie A. Not too bothered by the transition from Sassuolo to Inter, the youngster was Italy’s best player on the night. Always willing to support the attack, the youngster also scored the winning goal of the match.

Sensi’s dynamic role really helps Jorginho and Nicolo Barella shine.

Just over a year ago, Italy would have huffed and puffed in the game against Finland with the same players. Clearly it is something that Roberto Mancini is doing right. This was a performance that was not the most eye catching one but gave a great insight to how far this team has come.

Mancini has definitely changed the mind-set of the Azzurri. With seven consecutive wins (including two away from home), Mancini is chasing Pozzo’s record of nine.

It is a young side that has the right mentality and also has the support of the nation.

As things stand, Italy are on top of their Euro 2020 qualification group with 18 points from 18 games. With just four matches left in the group stages, the Azzurri needs only a few more wins to ensure that they qualify for next year’s event.

And with Mancini on board, who’s to say how far this young and exciting team can go?