In a somewhat short-sighted decision, Mancini accidentally left Chiellini out of the Italy starting XI | Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Roberto Mancini has admitted he accidentally left Giorgio Chiellini out of the Italy starting XI to face Bosnia & Herzegovina on Friday evening because he wasn’t wearing his glasses.
Italy drew 1-1 with Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Nations League, with Chiellini remaining an unused substitute throughout.
Chiellini had been earmarked to start against Bosnia & Herzegovina | Claudio Villa/Getty Images
The Juventus centre-back was surprisingly absent from the Italian lineup, with Francesco Acerbi instead starting in the heart of defence.
But in a confession that will have the Specsavers advertising department rubbing their hands with glee, Mancini has admitted that he did not realise Acerbi had been mistakenly named on the team sheet at the expense of Chiellini because he had didn’t have his glasses on.
As quoted by Football Italia, the Italy boss said: “It was my fault. They showed me the lineup, I didn’t have my glasses on and just said it was fine. I didn’t notice Acerbi was there rather than Chiellini.”
The mistake arose because Acerbi had been pencilled in to start against Holland on Monday evening – a game which Chiellini would have sat out.
However, there was a mix up and the 36-year-old will instead start against the Netherlands, with Lazio’s Acerbi warming the bench.
“We had planned originally for Acerbi to play one game and Chiellini another,” explained Mancini. “I had asked Giorgio if he wanted to play today or on Monday with Holland, he said today, but we’ll have to swap it now.
Acerbi started instead | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images
“It’s not like we chose a goalkeeper rather than a defender, it’s not a massive difference, but yes, it was an error.”
The game ultimately ended in a 1-1 draw, Edin Dzeko’s 57th minute strike cancelled out by Stefano Sensi 10 minutes later.
The result brought an end to Italy’s run of 11 successive victories and leaves them third in their group. Holland – who Mancini’s side face on Monday – top the group following their 1-0 victory over Poland.