Roberto Mancini matches Azzurri legend Vittorio Pozzo's record, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Roberto Mancini matches Azzurri legend Vittorio Pozzo's record

Italy coach Roberto Mancini equalled legendary Azzurri tactician Vittorio Pozzo's record of winning nine consecutive matches, and immediately set the bar higher for himself.

Andrea Belotti scored a second-half brace as already-qualified Italy overran Liechtenstein 5-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to stretch their perfect run in Euro 2020 qualifying to eight games.

In the process, Mancini's Azzurri also matched an 80-year-old record set under Pozzo, who led Italy to World Cup glory in 1934 and 1938, and gold in the 1936 Olympics.

When asked about equalling Pozzo's winning streak, Mancini said: "I said it many times, I would like to equal him in winning the World Cup twice, but even just winning Euro 2020 would be enough."

Federico Bernardeschi gave Italy the lead after just two minutes in Vaduz, but it was not until the last 20 minutes that the Azzurri hammered home their domination with four late goals.

Belotti headed in twice for a second-half brace with Alessio Romagnoli and substitute Stephan El Shaarawy also scoring near the end.

With qualification already in the bag, Mancini rang the changes, with Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti the only survivor from last week's 2-0 win over Greece.

The 26-year-old took the captain's armband with Leonardo Bonucci rested, as Napoli defender Giovanni di Lorenzo got his senior Italian debut aged 26, with winger Vincenzo Grifo, also 26, getting his first start.

Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, 20, made his first senior start having come off the bench in his three previous appearances. Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, 19, was also given his international debut in the second half. - AFP


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