Roberto Mancini has revealed that he considered stepping down as Italy’s head coach twice, but has decided to stay and is now determined to win the World Cup with his country.
The 57-year-old guided Italy to Euro 2020 success exactly one year ago, only to then miss out on qualification for Qatar 2022 following a shock play-off loss to North Macedonia.
It is the second successive World Cup the four-time winners have missed out on, having previously failed to reach Russia 2018.
Despite the latest disappointing qualifying campaign, Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina confirmed in March that Mancini would remain in the job if he wished.
However, Mancini has admitted he contemplated walking away after the loss to North Macedonia, as well as eight months prior after beating England in the Euro 2020 final.
“It was more [likely] the second time,” the former Manchester City and Inter boss told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I found myself in a really difficult situation.
“I thought about it a bit after Wembley but there was a World Cup a little more than a year later.”
Italy’s next shot at World Cup glory will now have to wait until 2026 when Canada, Mexico and the United States will jointly host the competition, which will be expanded to feature 48 sides rather than 32.
And Mancini, who took charge of Italy in May 2018, intends to still be in charge by the time that tournament comes around.
“From when I became manager, I had an objective: win the Euros and a World Cup,” he said. “A year ago, with the cup in my hands, I told myself: ‘I’m going after the other’.
“I was thinking about this World Cup [in Qatar] – obviously that isn’t the case. But I continue to think we will win one, yes.”