Italy responded to the shock of failing to qualify for the Qatar World Cup by coming from behind to beat Turkey

March 30th, 2022

This was the friendly both sides had hoped to avoid given Turkey’s World Cup hopes were also ended in a play-off defeat by Portugal over the weekend.

But Italy’s defeat by North Macedonia was felt across the game and their frustrations continued when Cengiz Under put Turkey ahead in Konya.

Roberto Mancini’s side – sporting 10 changes – drew level through a Bryan Cristante header.

Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori hammered the Azzurri ahead before the break and struck his second of the night to give them a cushion.

Serdar Dursun scored his third international goal to give Turkey late hope of avoiding defeat but Italy held on for a first win since beating Belgium in the Nations League in October.

“They were good,” said Mancini in reflecting on a win earned by his experimental side.

“It was good to see the reaction from going a goal down. They did well to stay calm and score goals.

“It was the first time that they all played together so it wasn’t easy for them. They’re all young lads, they need time. It wasn’t easy even if the match itself wasn’t worth very much.”

Italian media have been left trying to unpick what they called a disaster after the European champions failed to reach back-to-back World Cups for the first time in the tournament’s history.

But Mancini – who is under contract until the 2026 World Cup – has offered strong hints he will not be stepping down as manager.


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