Gareth Southgate challenges his England stars to bounce back from their World Cup heartbreak by earning a first away win against Italy since 1962 to kick-start their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign
- England will play their first match since their World Cup quarter-final defeat
- Gareth Southgate’s side face a repeat of the Euro 2020 final against Italy
- Roberto Mancini has played down concerns over potential clashes between fans
Gareth Southgate has challenged his England players to prove they can muster the resilience to overcome their latest tournament heartbreak here in Italy.
The national team face Roberto Mancini’s team in Naples on Thursday evening – their first game since the 2-1 loss to France in the World Cup quarter-final.
England reached the Euro 2020 final, where they lost to tonight’s opponents, after the crushing World Cup 2018 semi-final loss to Croatia – and Southgate is demanding his players show the same spirit to brush off their latest blow by winning their first match in Italy since 1962 and get their European Championship campaign off to a positive start.
He said: ‘The experience we have had in the last four or five years, some have joined in that period and some have been here the whole time.
‘The fact we don’t need more evidence of belief as they have been experience in biggest games and know they can compete in that level and what we have done in the past is irrelevant as we have to have humility and to start again.
Gareth Southgate has challenged his England team to win their first match in Italy since 1962
The Euro 2024 qualifier will be England’s first match since their World Cup exit to France
Italy head coach Roberto Mancini played down concerns over potential clashes between fans
‘In a nutshell it is the type of game we have to start winning, we have over a period but need to do it consistently. We haven’t won here since 1962 and that is another piece of history we have to break down and this team has broken them down in the past.’
There are major concerns that violent clashes between fans could overshadow Thursday’s clash – but Mancini appears to have indicated that any trouble would be instigated by England fans.
Mancini said: ‘I don’t work for the police force, but it’s always been the away fans that have come here and cause problems typically. We saw that in the Champions League.’
‘If people come here and behave correctly I don’t think there will be too many issues on that score.’
Mancini was also asked about his alleged involvement in the Premier League’s investigation in to the finances of Manchester City.
The Italian managed City to their first Premier League title in 2012 but it has subsequently been claimed that the club tried to circumnavigate Financial Fair Play rules by effectively paying him from two different sources.
As well as his City salary, it has been claimed that Mancini was also paid by lucrative basic wage as a ‘consultant’ for the with Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club, which is controlled by City’s owner.
The Italian said: ‘I haven’t been contacted or called up by anyone and I don’t think anyone will contact me. I have paid my taxes, it is all above board so I don’t think anyone will be in touch.’
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