'I'd have taken Balotelli!' - Italy boss Mancini's mother criticises team selection after World Cup failure

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Mancini Balotelli Italy
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The veteran attacker was left out of the latest Azzurri squad and missed out on their loss to North Macedonia

Roberto Mancini's mother has weighed in on Italy's failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, stating that she would have picked Mario Balotelli for this month's last-chance encounters.

Less than a year after claiming success at Euro 2020, the reigning European Champions will miss out on a second successive World Cup after they were downed 1-0 by North Macedonia on Friday.

The Azzurri failed to score from 32 shots, leaving manager Mancini to face an uncertain future - and now his mother Marianna Puolo has weighed in, saying that she would have called upon the fiery forward who was omitted from the final squad.

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What has been said?

“Yesterday could’ve gone better, but this is football, sometimes things go right and sometimes things go wrong," Puolo told Radiouno. "We had the match in our hands but the attack wasn’t great.

“I would have called up Balotelli, because he has incredible physical strength and in front of the goal nobody can stop him.

“Unfortunately, mistakes like Jorginho’s cost us. I don’t want to point my finger at him because he certainly didn’t do it on purpose, but if you miss three penalties..."

Is the future still bright for Italy?

Puolo still feels that her son's squad has the capacity to challenge down the line however, though she made sure to get a pointed dig in at England, who Italy edged in the Euro 2020 final last summer.

"Macedonia only had one shot, maybe Donnarumma could’ve saved it but it’s useless to talk about it now.

"This squad hasn’t lost the magic of the European Championship but perhaps some were afraid of making mistakes. Yesterday, I think the ones who celebrated the most were the English."

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