Italy matched a national team record as a 5-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein stretched their winning streak to nine games, but head coach Roberto Mancini's still sees areas where they can improve.

The Azzurri, who qualified for Euro 2020 by beating Greece at the weekend, eased to victory against Group J minnows Liechtenstein on Tuesday.

Victory means the current crop have equalled the achievement of the Italy team that played under Vittorio Pozzo, with their run spanning from May 1938 to March 1939.

Mancini, however, is more interested in another Pozzo record, as he explained following proceedings at the Rheinpark Stadion.

"Matching Pozzo's record of victories is nice, but I'd rather match his record of winning two World Cups!" Mancini, who also said there was still plenty of improvements for his side to make, told Rai Sport.

"It was natural with so many changes that we'd lack some consistency. There were some positives, other things we can improve, but the main issue was that these players haven't really worked together before."

Federico Bernardeschi opened the scoring inside two minutes – the Azzurri's fastest goal since June 2013 – though Italy had to wait until midway through the second half to double their lead.

Andrea Belotti headed home in the 70th minute, sparking a flurry of goals, the forward grabbing another after Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy had also scored.

El Shaarawy's goal marked his first Italy appearance since 2017 and the former Roma and AC Milan forward admitted it was an emotional moment.

"There was a bit of everything. It was emotional for me, very satisfying to be back on the field in an Italy jersey," El Shaarawy told Rai Sport.

"I feel Italy really deserved this qualification and these results, as we are all working so hard and are very pleased with how things are going.

"I was so hungry to be out there, as my last game for Italy was two years ago, the play-off that saw us fail to reach the World Cup. I needed to change the impressions from that match."

Roma have confirmed the departure of forward Stephan El Shaarawy to Shanghai Shenhua in a €16million deal.

Shenhua had announced earlier on Monday that an agreement was in place for El Shaarawy to make the move to the Chinese Super League club.

Roma added in a statement: "The club would like to thank Stephan for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him the best of luck for the future."

The Italy international scored 40 goals in 139 matches in all competitions for the Giallorossi, having joined from AC Milan in 2016.

Stephan El Shaarawy is heading to China as Shanghai Shenhua announced they had agreed terms with the forward's club Roma.

El Shaarawy, 26, has been heavily linked with a move to the Chinese Super League (CSL) club for a reported €18million.

In a statement on their website on Monday, Shanghai Shenhua confirmed they had reached an agreement with Roma.

"Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club and Italy's Rome Football Club have reached a transfer agreement," the statement read.

"Stephan El Shaarawy, who has dual Italian and Egyptian nationality, is expected to arrive in Shanghai on July 8th, Beijing time.

"After completing the relevant procedures, he officially joined Shanghai Greenland Shenhua."

El Shaarawy has spent the past three and a half seasons with Roma, having joined on a permanent move from AC Milan in 2016.

A 23-time Italy international, he scored 11 goals in 33 games in all competitions last season.

El Shaarawy joins a Shanghai Shenhua side struggling in 14th in the CSL after just three wins from their opening 16 games.

Manchester United are desperate to sign Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.

Maguire, 26, has reportedly told Leicester he wants to leave, with both Manchester clubs linked with a move for the centre-back.

But it seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to bring the England international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED STARS GIVE MAGUIRE THUMBS-UP

Maguire is Manchester United's number one defensive target, according to the Mirror.

The report says Solskjaer received positive feedback from the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young, the United trio having played with Maguire for England.

The Mirror also say United assistant manager Mike Phelan is desperate for the club to sign Maguire, who he worked with briefly as Hull City manager in 2016-17.

It was reported earlier this week that United had made a £70million bid for Maguire.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United have offered goalkeeper David de Gea – who has been linked with a move away – a final £350,000-per-week contract, according to The Sun.

- Romelu Lukaku is set to join United's pre-season tour despite reportedly being set for a move away. The Sun say Inter are yet to meet United's £75m price tag for the striker.

- After 12-and-a-half years at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marcelo is set to leave Real Madrid. The left-back, who faced plenty of criticism during 2018-19, will leave the LaLiga giants in the coming weeks, according to Sport.

- It looks set to be a busy few days for West Ham. The Premier League club have agreed to sell Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG for £23m, according to the Daily Mail. The Mirror say the Hammers are looking at West Brom striker Salomon Rondon, while Football London report the club are trying to land Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez, who was set to join Valencia.

- There could be another talented forward heading to China, with Sky Sport Italia reporting Stephan El Shaarawy has agreed to move to Shanghai Shenhua. Roma reportedly want €20m for the forward.

- AC Milan have completed a €16m move for Empoli midfielder Ismael Bennacer, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, who also reports the club have enquired about Benfica's Gedson Fernandes. Still at San Siro, Sky Sports News report Liverpool are not looking to sell rumoured Rossoneri target Dejan Lovren.

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