Against Costa Rica, Mancini plays his first test as coach of Saudi Arabia

Italy's Roberto Mancini will play his first test since being appointed coach of the Saudi football team on Friday in a friendly match against Costa Rica at St. James Park in the English city of Newcastle.

Mancini (58 years old), who replaced Luciano Spalletti, shocked the football world in general and the Italian world in particular with his decision to stop coaching his country's national team, which he led to win the European Cup in the summer of 2021. at England's expense by beating them on penalties in their stronghold of Wembley.

Days after Mancini's resignation, the Saudi federation announced a four-year contract with him, while press reports suggested his salary would be up to 30 million euros a year.

Mancini justified the qualitative change in his career: “I made history in Europe and now I have come to make history in Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Akhdar is currently holding a training camp in Newcastle that will last until the 12th of this month, during which he will play a second friendly against South Korea in the international window next Tuesday.

The Saudi national team is preparing for qualification for the 2026 World Cup, which begins next November, and the final of the Asian Cup, which will be held in Qatar from January 12 to February 10.

Saudi Arabia plays in Group Six, which includes Oman, Kyrgyzstan and Thailand.

Mancini called up 26 players for the current training camp, most of them from the elements that took part in last year's World Cup in Qatar, including Muhammad Al-Owais, Abdullah Al-Omari, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Sultan Al-Ghanam and Hassan Timbukti. , Yasser Al-Shahrani, Saud Abdul-Hamid, Muhammad Kno, Abdullah Al-Khaibri, Salem Al-Dosari and Firas Al-Buraikan.

The Italian coach also included new names on the list such as Nawaf Al-Aqidi, Ali Hazazi, Raghed Al-Najjar and Fahd Al-Rashidi.

The Saudi and Costa Rican teams faced each other four times, all overshadowed by friendly nature as Al-Akhdar won once and suffered three defeats. He scored 5 goals and conceded 8.

Mancini resigns as coach of the Italian national team

Roberto Mancini has tendered his resignation as coach of the Italian team with which he won the European Cup in 2021, the local federation of this sport announced this Sunday.

The statement said: “The Italian Football Federation was informed on Saturday evening of the resignation of Mancini as coach of the Italian national team,” who took office in May 2018.

The association added that it could announce his replacement “in the coming days.”

  • After the retirement of experienced players such as Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon, Mancini led the team on the way to winning Euro 2021.
  • The team remained undefeated in 37 games between October 2018 and October 2021, a record in international football.
  • Italy performed well in the Nations League under Mancini's leadership, finishing third in the 2020-2021 and 2022-2023 seasons.
  • But Mancini failed to lead the team to qualification for the 2022 World Cup after they lost 1-0 to North Macedonia in the playoffs at home.
  • After failing to qualify for the World Cup, the Italian press called for his resignation, but he received the support of the federation's president to continue in office. 
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