Mancini tells Italy we 'must raise our heads'


European champions Italy failed to qualify for a second straight World Cup after crashing to a 1-0 defeat at home in Palermo to North Macedonia in a European playoff semi-final on Thursday.

"Last summer we were on the peak of Europe after completing one of the most beautiful feats in the history of the national team. A few hours ago we woke up on one of the lowest points," Mancini wrote on Instagram.

"We went from total joy to frustrating disappointment. It's really hard to accept, but accepting even defeats in life is part of a healthy path of human and sports growth."

"Let's take some time to reflect and understand clearly. The only right move now is to raise our heads and work for the future," he said.

"Thanks to the crowd in Palermo for their warmth and thanks to all the fans who have always given us enthusiasm and affection."

Mancini will have to try and motivate his demoralised players for a friendly on Tuesday with Turkey, who were also knocked out of the World Cup losing 3-1 to Portugal on Thursday.