MILAN (AP) — With the World Cup quarterfinals underway, Italy is left to wonder what might have been.
This is the first World Cup Italy has not participated in for 60 years. The four-time champion failed to qualify after losing a playoff to Sweden in November.
While frustrated Azzurri fans have been left to watch the action at home, Sweden has impressed in Russia and plays England on Saturday for a place in the semifinals.
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Former Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon will still be considered if he wants to return to the national team.
Buffon retired from international soccer in November after Italy lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden, but he recently returned for friendlies.
MILAN (AP) — Mario Balotelli could make his first appearance for Italy in nearly four years after the Nice forward was named in a 30-man squad by new coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday.
Balotelli last played for Italy in the 2014 World Cup, where the Azzurri was eliminated at the group stage. He was called up by Antonio Conte in November of that year but was forced to withdraw from the squad with injury.
ROME (AP) — Italy coach Roberto Mancini plans to talk to long-excluded striker Mario Balotelli about a possible return to the national team as he attempts to rebuild a squad that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Balotelli has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, but he featured under Mancini at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini is Italy coach
ROME (AP) — Roberto Mancini has been confirmed as Italy's new coach.
The Italian football federation made the announcement late Monday, saying Mancini will be introduced on Tuesday but without providing contract details.
Mancini replaces Gian Piero Ventura, who was fired in November after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Luigi Di Biagio guided Italy in an interim role for recent friendlies.
Italy bosses speak to Mancini about becoming Azzurri coach
ROME (AP) — The Italian soccer federation talked to Roberto Mancini on Friday about the possibility of becoming the next coach of the national team and also plans to approach Chelsea coach Antonio Conte about a possible return.
The 53-year-old Mancini, who has coached Manchester City and Inter Milan, is among several candidates for the role — along with Conte, Carlo Ancelotti and Claudio Ranieri.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Roberto Mancini has signed a three-year contract to coach Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.
Mancini described his first job since leaving Inter Milan last August as "a new adventure" in comments on Twitter on Thursday.
"I'm very honored to have been chosen as their coach," he added.