Italy coach Mancini gets contract extension through 2026

ROME (AP) — Italy coach Roberto Mancini was given a contract extension through 2026 on Monday, allowing him to stay in charge of the Azzurri for the next two World Cups.

The announcement by the Italian soccer federation came three weeks before Italy plays Turkey in Rome to open the European Championship.

Mancini led Italy to a perfect 10 wins in qualifying for the Euros. He was appointed in 2018 after the Azzurri failed to qualify for that year’s World Cup under Gian Piero Ventura.

“It gives me a lot of satisfaction that people like the squad we’ve put together and I’m optimistic for the future,” Mancini said. “Over the next year we’ll have the Euros, the Nations League finals and the World Cup. The goal is to win — while realizing that it won’t be easy and that it will also require some luck.”

Italy will also host the Nations League final four in October. The Azzurri face Spain in one semifinal, with France playing Belgium in the other semifinal.

Mancini’s previous contract was due to expire after the 2022 World Cup.

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