Roberto Mancini conceded that Italy’s draw for the World Cup 2022 play-offs ‘could have been better,' while Welsh coach Rob Page is optimistic.
Italy drew North Macedonia at home in their semi-final, and should they win they will face the winner of Turkey vs Portugal.
That appears to be the toughest route to Qatar out of the three qualifying paths, and speaking to Italian broadcaster RAI2, the former Manchester City boss acknowledged the difficulties.
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“It could have been a little better, that’s true,” Mancini said. “It’s clear that both us and Portugal have to beat Macedonia and Turkey.
“It’s one leg, which always provides difficulties. We are confident and positive, especially in the slightly more difficult moments.
We had a great qualifying group. Even against Switzerland we deserved to win and yet we didn’t, Mancini said. We’ll have to play a great match, then we’ll see in the final.
Speaking of Portugal, he said: “We would have gladly avoided them and they would probably want to avoid us too. We will play a possible final against them.
“Joao Pedro is an excellent striker, he knows Italian football. But let’s not forget what the lads did four months ago.”
Meanwhile, Wales boss Rob Page was pleased to see Wales get a home draw with Austria ahead of a potential match-up with Scotland.
“If you had a wish, you’d want two home games,” said Page.
“We had to work hard for one and we got the luck of the draw for the second one, so the incentive is there for us. We’ll have two packed houses. We’ve seen the impact supporters can have on us in the recent campaign.
We’ve given ourselves a great opportunity, haven’t we? It’s all there to play for.
“I’m not going to lie, I had one eye on Portugal and Italy. You want to avoid, on paper, the better teams and they are fantastic teams.
“Seeing them both finish in second place was a shock, but it’s good they’ve got together in the same group.”
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