Mancini off the mark as Italy awaken after winless year

first_imgThat was followed by the devastating failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after a playoff defeat to Sweden at the San Siro in November last year.Italian football has been in turmoil ever since. Although Mancini took over last May, the Italian football federation is still to elect a new president.It was perhaps not surprising that Cristiano Biraghi’s last-gasp winner in Chorzow on Sunday night was celebrated as if the national side had won the tournament.Despite Mancini’s insistence that it would not be a drama if Italy lost the match, the League A Group 3 clash was a relegation playoff, with Poland dropping to League B.“The salvation of Italy and the turning point for Mancini,” wrote La Repubblica, hailing the win as a “birth certificate for a new national side.”Former Manchester City boss Mancini’s only success since taking over five months ago was a 2-1 win in a friendly against Saudi Arabia before the World Cup.“A new cycle has already begun,” said the 53-year-old former Italian international.Italy defender Cristiano Biraghi (L) celebrates scoring the winning goal with midfielder Nicolo Barella © AFP / Janek SKARZYNSKI“We’ll go with pride to see the president of the republic,” he added of Monday’s meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome to mark the 120th anniversary of the Italian FA.“All of Italian football will be there, it’s important to go with a morale-boosting win like yesterday and for this we are proud,” said Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago. “I see a new generation of young Italians emerging. In recent years there has been a lack of foresight.”– ‘No magicians’ –Mancini said a “new era has already begun”, although he cautioned that “there are no magicians”.“We simply started working, getting to know the players.“I don’t like to think that the worst has passed for us, because for us it has never got that bad. There was never any specific kind of problem.”Italian coach Fabio Capello believes “Mancini’s choices have borne fruit,” as the national side can now aspire to finishing top of their Nations League group ahead of European champions Portugal.“The coach knows his players and tries to construct the match based on what he has,” said the former England and Russia coach.Mancini stuck with the same eleven he started with in last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against the Ukraine.He then opted to bring on Kevin Lasagna for his international debut in the second half over Lazio ace Ciro Immobile, and the 26-year-old, who plays for Serie B side Carpi, set up Biraghi for the winner.Nicolo Barella, 21, was also chosen to start over Lorenzo Pellegrini in midfield after making his international debut in Genoa.Fiorentina defender Biraghi was playing just his third game for Italy after earning his first call-up last month at the age of 26.“Last night Mancini’s choice was a winner,” said Capello.“(Barella) is a player who gives a change of pace in midfield, he gives something more, in terms of quality and quantity, that we were lacking before.”Cristiano Biraghi made the sign ’13’ in honour of ex-Fiorentina teammate Davide Astori who died last March © AFP / Janek SKARZYNSKIThe result ensures Italy stayed in the top tier ahead of December’s draw for Euro 2020 qualifying, and can still win their Nations League group.It also gives the Azzurri a boost as they prepare to host Portugal in the San Siro on November 17 — just over a year after they lost their World Cup playoff to Sweden at the same stadium.Portugal have six points from two games, with Italy on four points after three games with Poland relegated to League B with one point.Portugal then host Poland three days later.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000“A new era has begun”: Italy coach Roberto Mancini gets his first competitive win © AFP / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRAMILAN, Italy, Oct 15 – Roberto Mancini got his first competitive win as Italy’s journey back from the abyss of their World Cup qualifying failure began to take shape with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Poland in the Nations League.It was the first competitive win for the four-time world champions since a 1-0 victory over Albania in World Cup qualifiers on October 9, 2017.last_img read more

Bhutto supporters clash with police in Pakistan

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre In an opening skirmish, some 400 loyalists of her Pakistan People’s Party, the country’s largest, marched up to riot police blocking their way to the parliament building, where lawmakers minutes earlier had rubber-stamped the emergency declaration. Police fired tear gas over their heads and beat and arrested a few who broke through barricades. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Supporters of Benazir Bhutto clashed with police in front of parliament Wednesday after she urged party activists into the streets to protest emergency rule, deepening the uncertainty engulfing a Pakistan already shaken by rising Islamic militancy. Seeking to position herself as the only leader able to unite the country to confront Islamic extremism, the former prime minister toughened her rhetoric against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, but she left open the possibility of resuming talks if he ends the crackdown. President Bush, meanwhile, told the U.S.-allied general that Pakistan must go through with parliamentary elections that had been planned for January. Bush commented after a senior U.S. official called Musharraf an “indispensable” ally in the war against extremist groups. Thousands of Pakistanis have been jailed or put under house arrest since Musharraf assumed emergency powers Saturday, and Bhutto called on her followers to show their defiance of the clampdown on civil liberties. last_img read more