Mancini apologises for Italy’s shock World Cup humiliation as Cannavaro becomes No1 target to replace him as manager

ROBERTO MANCINI has apologised after Italy failed to qualify for a second-straight World Cup.

Just months after the Azzurri broke English hearts in the Euro 2020 final, the nation are now licking their wounds after last night’s shock last-ditch play-off defeat to North Macedonia.

Roberto Mancini has apologised after Italy’s World Cup dreams were endedCredit: Alamy

Fabio Cannavaro is the favourite to take over as Italian boss

Fabio Cannavaro is the favourite to take over as Italian bossCredit: Getty

Mancini claimed Italy were victims of “total bad luck” after the crushing setback ensured they would humiliatingly miss out on Qatar.

He said: “I think that if last July was the best thing I had professionally, I think this is the biggest disappointment.

“You can’t say anything. This is football. Sometimes incredible things happen and tonight it’s happened.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have been there, but we did everything to try to win.

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“It is difficult to comment on this match, with a goal that arrived after the 90th minute without conceding anything else.

“This is a group with great players and I’m sorry because we didn’t deserve it. Now it is too early to talk about the future, we still have to digest this defeat.

“I think that the victory of the European Championship was deserved, then luck turned into total bad luck.

“On a human level, I can say that I love the boys more tonight than in July. It is a time of great difficulty and therefore my affection is even greater.”

Former Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro is reportedly the leading candidate to replace Mancini should he resign.

The ex-Man City boss signed a four-year extension after the Euro success, but he is refusing to rush into a decision on his future.

He added: “We will see. Now I feel too disappointed to speak about my future, we will see.

“I’m sure this team has a great future. I’m supporting these players now more than ever.”

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