Northern Ireland-Italy, Mancini: “We have to go to the World Cup”

The coach loses other pieces: out Bastoni, Calabria and Biraghi

“We have to go to the World Cup”. An obligatory mission, an objective to be achieved. Roberto Mancini, with a tweet, summarizes the situation at home after the 1-1 draw against Switzerland. On Monday 15 November in Belfast you have to win against Northern Ireland and you have to do it, for safety, even with a certain margin. Italy and Switzerland have 15 points, the Azzurri boast a +2 in goal difference that must be defended to keep first place in Group C and fly to the 2022 World Cup. The second place would force the national team to go through the playoffs in March: better to avoid, given the precedent of 2018 with the sensational elimination from the World Cup in Russia. “We suffered in the first half but we did well in the second, we just missed the goal. Now head to Monday, we have to play our game and go to the World Cup”, wrote Mancini.

The coach, however, has to deal with other absences for the decisive match. Defender Alessandro Bastoni has left the retreat. The AC Milan player Davide Calabria also leaves with the Inter defender, accusing his right calf of muscle pain and returning to the club for treatment, while Cristiano Biraghi returns home for personal reasons. Mancini summoned Davide Zappacosta.