Italy's national coach Roberto Mancini continues to demand optimism from his Azzurri despite missing direct qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Immediately after the 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland on Monday evening, the coach urged his team not to lose their nerve before the tricky playoff phase in March.

Italy threatens to miss the second World Cup in a row after the 2018 one.

"We have to stay calm," warned Mancini in Belfast.

“We still have the chance to make it.

That is the most important thing. ”The European championship coach claimed that he was“ deeply confident ”.

Mancini: "Threw the group away"

The Italians started their qualifying group C with three wins, but lost the momentum after the European Championship triumph and only got four draws and one win in the last five games.

"Now we're in this mess because we threw away a group that we already had for sure," said Mancini.

Above all, the two draws against Switzerland, in which Jorginho, Europe's “Footballer of the Year”, missed penalties, weighed heavily.

The Swiss ousted the Italians on the last match day with a 4-0 win over Bulgaria from first place, which ensures early participation in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“What a disappointment!” Complained the daily newspaper “Tuttosport” on Tuesday night on its homepage.

In fact, the Italians were miles away from a clear victory against the disciplined defending Northern Irish, which would ultimately have been necessary.

“It's a difficult moment,” admitted offensive man Domenico Berardi.

"Now we have to get the most out of it in March."

The Italians ran in vain against Northern Ireland for 90 minutes.

But they fared like all other group opponents of the Northern Irish: In this World Cup qualification, the team of coach Ian Baraclough did not concede a single goal in a home game.