World Championship sprint-relay silver medallist Natasha Morrison and sprint hurdler Amoi Brown emerged victorious in their respective events at Sunday’s Meeting Citta' Di Padova 2023 in Italy.

Morrison, who ran the lead off leg for Jamaica who won the 4x100m relay silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month, stormed to victory in the 100m clocking a time of 11.15.

The USA’s Twanisha Terry, who incidentally, was on the USA’s gold-medal winning team, was close behind in 10.21. Briana Williams, who was also a member of the Jamaican relay squad, took third place in a time of 11.39.

Brown, meanwhile, who just missed out on a place on Jamaica’s team to the world championships when she finished fourth at her country’s national championships in July, had better fortunes on Sunday when she dominated the 100m hurdles.

Running into a headwind of -0.8m/s, Brown’s time was 12.83. She had daylight between herself and second-place finisher Hanna Toth of Hungary, who clocked a pedestrian 13.20 with Japan’s Mako Fukube close behind in third in 13.25.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 100m dash, Michael Campbell of Jamaica, finished second in 10.28 after he was pipped at the line by the USA’s Kyree King, who ran a winning time of 10.27. They raced into a headwind of -0.7m/s.

Canada’s Aaron Brown finished third in 10.31.

In the long jump, World Championship bronze medallist Tajay Gayle had to settle for second place after his jump of 8.00m was bettered by France’s Tom Campagne’s effort of 8.09m. Reece Ademola of Ireland jumped 7.97m to secure the other podium spot.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s men’s 4x100m team secured a bronze medal on day eight of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Saturday.

The quartet of Ackeem Blake, 100m finalists Oblique Seville and Ryiem Forde and 100m semi-finalist Rohan Watson combined to run 37.76.

The USA’s dream team of Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, Brandon Carnes and Noah Lyles ran a world leading 37.38 for gold while Olympic champions, Italy, ran 37.62 for silver.

USA, Jamaica, Japan advanced to the final of the 4x100m relay on Friday.

In a keenly contested semi-final heat, the USA team of Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, Brendon Barnes and JT Smith, just managed to hold off the Jamaican quartet of Ackeem Blake, Oblique Seville, Ryeim Forde and Rohan Watson to win in a what was briefly a world-leading time 37.67.

It was a blanket finish that saw the Jamaicans close behind in 37.68 and the Japanese foursome of Ryuichiro Sakai, Hiroki Yanagita, Yuki Koike and Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, who were third in 37.71.

That world-leading time by the USA lasted mere minutes as Italy’s team of Roberto Rigali, Lamont Jacobs, Lorenzo Patta and Fillippo Tortu stormed to victory in the second heat in 37.65. South Africa’s team of Shaun Maswangnayi, Benjamin Richardson, Clarence Munyai, and Akani Simbine close behind in 37.72.

Great Britain was third in 38.01.

Brazil who ran 38.19 and France 37.98 are also through to the final.

What started out as a dream debut for Jamaica’s Rajindra Campbell, ended in disappointment, as he was unable to express himself in the men’s shot put final on Saturday’s opening day of the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Campbell, the Jamaican national champion and record holder at 22.22m, made the final with a mark of 20.83m on his third attempt during qualifying, but again struggled to get going.

However, unlike he did in qualifying, Campbell was unable to recover and failed to register a mark when it mattered most.

The event was won by American defending champion Ryan Crouser, who launched the instrument to a Championship Record 23.51m on his final attempt to stamp his authority on the event. He had earlier registered 22.98m in the second round, which already had the gold medal won.

Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri, with a new personal best 22.34m, snatched silver from the other American Joe Kovacs (21.59m).

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Andy Farrell played down the severity of injuries suffered by Jack Conan, Jimmy O’Brien and Craig Casey during Ireland’s “clunky” World Cup warm-up win over Italy.

Number eight Conan was pictured in a protective boot following his first-half withdrawal in Dublin, while full-back O’Brien and scrum-half Casey were taken off with shoulder and back issues respectively.

Caelan Doris shone for the Guinness Six Nations champions with two tries in a 33-17 victory in which Dave Kilcoyne, Stuart McCloskey and replacement Cian Healy were also on the scoresheet.

Speaking of the injury concerns, head coach Farrell said: “They seem not too bad.

“Jimmy’s shoulder has shut down a little bit, it’s something he’s had in the past. Jack lost power in his foot, he seems OK.

“Craig had a tight back which was making his hamstring cramp. They were taken off as precautions more than anything.”

An experimental Ireland side recovered from a sluggish start at a subdued Aviva Stadium to take control of the contest but did not fully convince, despite the comfortable scoreline.

“To get up and running with a victory is nice, but I think we all know really that it was a bit clunky, to say the least, at times,” said Farrell.

“There was some really good stuff as far as possession is concerned and opportunities to convert were there in spades.

“But we weren’t patient enough to be able to convert that, so I think that’s the morale of the story really.”

Back-rower Doris, selected in an unfamiliar role at openside flanker, was the standout performer, while Ciaran Frawley, Calvin Nash and Tom Stewart came off the bench to make Test debuts.

“I’m sick of him getting man of the match,” joked Farrell.

“He just keeps getting better and better. We all know he’s good at jackalling and good over the ball and I don’t know whether he took that through the roof because he had a number seven on his back.

“He epitomises what we’re trying to do as far as the player being in control of his own mind.

“It doesn’t really matter whether he makes a mistake or two, he just gets on with the next job the whole time.

“He’s playing extremely well but he’s certainly growing as far as his leadership role is concerned as well. He’s coming on leaps and bounds.”

Ireland move on to a training camp in Portugal before taking on England and Samoa later this month.

Italy head coach Kieran Crowley said: “In the first half, we were dominated all over the place.

“Ireland were too good for us in that first half. Second half, we came back but we’ve still got a lot of work to do in our breakdown work and just in general with our management.

“I saw an improvement in that second half – we won the second half, I think, but that’s not winning the game.”

Caelan Doris shone and Jack Conan suffered an injury scare as Ireland launched their World Cup warm-up fixtures by easing to a 33-17 win over Italy in Dublin.

Back-rower Conan departed the field shortly before half-time and was later pictured in a protective boot on the bench.

Full-back Jimmy O’Brien and scrum-half Craig Casey were also withdrawn for treatment to give head coach Andy Farrell cause for concern ahead of his side’s campaign in France, which kicks off in just five weeks’ time.

An experimental side missing a host of rested stars, in addition to suspended skipper Johnny Sexton, overcame a sloppy beginning to cruise to a 15th successive home victory.

Doris’ two tries, plus scores from Dave Kilcoyne, Stuart McCloskey and Cian Healy, earned victory, while Jack Crowley and debutant Ciaran Frawley kicked six and two points respectively.

Lorenzo Pani and Tommaso Menoncello claimed consolations for Italy but they never threatened to shock the Six Nations champions.

Ireland were back in action for the first time since clinching the Grand Slam against England in March.

Farrell retained only three of the players who began that day as part of an unfamiliar XV, while Italy included England-born debutants Paolo Odogwu and Dino Lamb in a strong selection.

The Aviva Stadium was far from full for the late kick-off and Ireland’s sluggish start, during which Tommaso Allan’s early penalty put the visitors ahead, initially did little to enhance the subdued atmosphere.

Italy lost Saracens prop Marco Riccioni to injury inside 10 minutes and that setback was quickly compounded by Kilcoyne burrowing over at the other end to register his first Test try since November 2014.

The score settled Ireland down to an extent and they capitalised on Italian indiscipline to stretch the scoreboard just before the half-hour mark.

Doris claimed the second try of the evening, crashing over wide on the right, moments after Azzurri loosehead Danilo Fischetti was sin-binned for failing to retreat.

Conan’s 35th-minute departure was an unwelcome sight for Farrell but the hosts’ performance continued to improve, with man-of-the-match Doris proving to be a real menace.

The Leinster man, selected in the unfamiliar position of openside flanker, produced a crushing tackle on Stephen Varney deep inside Italian territory to pave the way for McCloskey to power over.

Crowley landed his third conversion of the evening to make it 21-3 at the interval.

Farrell shuffled his pack slightly for the restart, introducing the uncapped Frawley at fly-half and pushing Crowley to full-back in place of the withdrawn O’Brien, who had received treatment on a shoulder issue.

A further change was required just four minutes later as scrum-half Casey followed Conan and O’Brien into the treatment room.

Italy, whose only Dublin success came in 1997, had struggled for territory in the opening period.

But, on the back of some cheap penalties conceded by Ireland, they reduced their deficit in the 51st minute when Pani was afforded yards of space on the right to charge forward and hold off the attempts of Jacob Stockdale.

Replacement prop Healy then celebrated moving level with Rory Best as Ireland’s third most-capped player on 124 appearances with his 12th international try.

Menoncello again reduced the arrears for Italy 12 minutes from time before the impressive Doris had the final say.

Following a week’s training camp in Portugal, Ireland move to matches against England and Samoa with plenty of positives but some fitness concerns.

The Reggae Girlz remarkable and historic run on their second-consecutive Fifa Women’s World Cup appearance, may come as a surprise to many, but those close to the happenings believe it was always on the cards given the players and the coaching staff’s unflinching desire to succeed.

With another campaign being marred by talks of age-old issues of little or no practice games and inadequate preparation, as well as limited funding, ahead of the showpiece currently ongoing in Australia and New Zealand, the collective chorus is one of great optimism that the Reggae Girlz will now be taken seriously and will receive the necessary support and respect they deserve.

Former Head coach Hue Menzies, who was at the helm when the Reggae Girlz first qualified for the France 2019 World Cup, is among those singing praises about the current achievements. But he was also quick to point out that much more work needs to be done, as the country’s women’s football programme is still some ways off from its full potential.

The 43rd-ranked Girlz, who on World Cup debut lost all three games to Brazil, Italy and Australia in 2019, have displayed marked improvements on this occasion in holding top-ranked France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and secure their first ever World Cup win in a 1-0 scoreline over Panama on their way to the knockout stages.

Menzies, believes these accomplishments was another show of the players' resilience and strength of character, as they were given very little chance against their more illustrious opponents.

"I believe this was another statement of the players' dedication and commitment and determination to make Jamaica proud. They have again commanded people's attention with this achievement but again, the programme requires more funding if they are to get much closer to these top teams.

"But I am so proud for what the programme continues to achieve, and all the credit must go to Cedella [Marley], who brought us all together with the vision to build this programme. I think we have earned some respect across the world after these performances, but the most important thing is that we earn the respect from our own people of Jamaica," Menzies told Sportsmax.tv in a recent interview.

“Culturally we don’t support female football or female sports on a whole. Corporate Jamaica has to understand how significant it would be for them to collaborate with the Girlz, they can create an impactful platform to help young females to dream big.

“Not only that, but brand recognition through these young ladies, will benefit for a lifetime. So, we have won this World Cup battle but have to keep going to win the war where the holistic development of the programme is concerned,” he added.

Reggae Girlz manager Crystal Walters, who is one of the youngest present at the global showpiece, echoed similar sentiments, as she noted that the hard work and sacrifice made by the players and backroom staff, will never truly be understood by those standing on the outside looking in.

“From the very start of this journey the ladies have been my first priority, watching them rewrite history each time they step on the field, and just being a part of this journey is truly an amazing feeling. what amazes me the most is how well this team stick together with so many distractions, but these ladies thrive on having their backs against the wall and are our living legends,” Walters said from the team’s base in Australia.

For Walters, the onus is now on the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the Government and also corporate partners to ensure they build on the Girlz achievements going forward.

“Our focus as a nation needs to be redirected to our grassroots programme, providing proper sporting facilities, as well as adequate sponsorship. It takes a lot to care, but this team has gone beyond greatness, and we need to build on the history that these amazing ladies and staff have once again created.

“It is indeed a fresh testament of what the country can achieve with more substantial backing, as the Girlz accomplishments will provide opportunities and open many doors for these and our other players. It is football for all and we need to use this opportunity to ensure we keep developing,” Walters opined.

Andrew Price, who along with current Head coach Lorne Donaldson, were assistants to Menzies during the 2019 success, said the Girlz — backed by a committed and resolute coaching staff — again forged ahead despite the enormous disparity in rankings, history, funding and support when compared to opponents like France and Brazil.

In fact, even Italy, who the Girlz lost to in 2019, failed to progress from their group on this occasion.

“The performance in Australia has been phenomenal. The Girlz continue to secure historic achievements, almost proving that merely qualifying for their second-consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup wasn't enough.

“These Girlz like to dream big. They went to Australia with a plan and driven by the technical staff, they bought into the plan.  They believed that they had the mental capacity to traverse the group and they did because they believed in each other,” Price noted.

“I told people who would listen, that this team is four years older, four years wiser and the experience they got from 2019 would serve them well. They played each team on their merit and took one game at time. The focus was to get out of the group, and they have accomplished that by showing great fight resilience. Keep the fire burning Reggae Girlz,” the veteran tactician shared.

The Reggae Girlz will next face 25th-ranked Colombia in Round of 16 action in Adelaide, on Tuesday and standout goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer declared that they are ready to once again prove their doubters wrong.

“We were hugely underestimated, obviously with the noise going on outside of us playing and the lack of matches that we had leading into the tournament, I don’t think anyone took us seriously,” the outspoken Spencer opined.

“But as a group, both players and staff, we know we are resilient we had a point to prove and for months we have been saying it, we are getting out of this group, and we have proven just that. I am just proud of everyone for sticking together and getting it done and now we want to keep going,” the Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper stated.

Andy Farrell insists squad depth will be key to Ireland achieving their dream of World Cup glory after handing opportunities to a number of fringe players for Saturday’s warm-up clash with Italy.

Munster’s Jack Crowley has been selected at fly-half in the absence of the suspended Johnny Sexton, with uncapped trio Ciaran Frawley, Tom Stewart and Calvin Nash among the replacements.

Just three players – centre Robbie Henshaw and back-rowers Caelan Doris and Ryan Baird – have been retained from the XV which began Ireland’s Grand Slam-clinching win over England back in March.

Ulster lock Iain Henderson will captain the side, lining up in the second row alongside Joe McCarthy, who will make his first international start, while wing Jacob Stockdale will play at Test level for the first time in two years.

Head coach Farrell, who is due to cut his 42-man squad down to a final 33 following further fixtures against England and Samoa, wants a full complement of players fit and firing moving towards the tournament in France but dismissed the notion he is experimenting.

“We’re at a stage where we’re all gagging for a game,” he said.

“And you are judging constantly how preparation’s going and trying to balance that out with a side that’s got the experience and youth.

“I’m 100 per cent sure there are some individuals that will take the field saying to themselves that ‘this a big chance and big opportunity for me’.

“You’ve got to surround those people with good enough experienced players as well to be able to judge them properly, so we’re looking forward to that.

“I wouldn’t say we’re experimenting.

“You win World Cups because of the strength of your squad so we’re trying to find out about people that have done so well to get picked in the initial 42 and now they’ve got the opportunity to represent the group.

“They know the expectation of how we want to play and what’s acceptable and what’s not.”

Sexton’s three-match ban has opened the door for rookie number 10s Crowley, Frawley and Ross Byrne to gain some much-needed Test experience during the next month.

In-form Crowley is the first to be handed an opportunity to impress, having starred during his province’s United Rugby Championship success at the end of last season.

“He has been excellent but how that transfers into a performance is different,” Farrell said of Crowley.

“He has been going great. I have seen his confidence grow, obviously from what happened with Munster, being able to help navigate his team through those difficult periods and get some success.

“The minute that selection comes, it’s a different week as far as managing the team and being the main general as far as Jack is concerned.

“We have been keeping a close eye on that and he has been excellent so far.”

Farrell was speaking publicly for the first time since Sexton, who has not played since the Guinness Six Nations due to injury, was hit with a three-match ban for misconduct.

“He’s been all systems go, right from the start,” the Englishman said of his 38-year-old skipper’s performances in training.

“He’s not missed a session, he’s not dropped out of anything. If there was a game two or three weeks ago, he was able to play, no doubt.

“Obviously he’s disappointed not to be able to play in these games but he’s in great form.”

Darcy Graham marked his return to the international fold with a double as an experimental Scotland side defeated Italy 25-13 in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match at Murrayfield.

The 26-year-old Edinburgh wing missed the entire Six Nations with a knee injury but – after scoring a hat-trick in his last match for the Scots against Argentina in November – he picked up where he left off with a couple of clinical touchdowns to put the Azzurri to the sword.

Replacement Josh Bayliss sealed the victory with the Scots’ third try in the last play of the match after Montanna Ioane’s score just after the hour had given the Italians hope.

Graham was one of the few established starters in Gregor Townsend’s XV as he allowed several of his key players the weekend off ahead of the upcoming double-header against World Cup hosts France.

Glasgow centre Stafford McDowall was given his international debut while Glasgow prop Murphy Walker and Edinburgh fly-half Ben Healy – both previously capped – made their first starts.

It looked like it might be a difficult afternoon for the Scots when the visitors instantly got themselves on the front foot and had their hosts penned inside their own half for the opening five minutes.

However, the hosts burst into life after six minutes when Healy, working off a turnover, kicked a ball into space for Graham to chase down but the rapid Edinburgh wing was thwarted by some impressive defending just as he looked set to get himself clear.

The same two players combined as the hosts made the breakthrough in the 13th minute. Healy again kicked wide to the right, picking out Graham who was already beyond the try-line as he received the ball before helping himself to a straightforward touchdown. Healy was unable to add the extras as his conversion attempt went wide.

However, the Azzurri managed to get themselves in front by half-time courtesy of a couple of penalties from Tommaso Allan, the Harlequins stand-off who has a Scottish father as well as an uncle capped nine times by Scotland in the early 1990s.

Allan reduced the deficit with a close-range effort in the 26th minute and then in the last action of a largely underwhelming first half the number 10 sent another kick soaring between the posts from inside Scotland’s 10-metre line.

Scotland got themselves back in front eight minutes after the interval when Healy pinged over a penalty. And in the 55th minute, Graham scored his second try of the match when he received a reverse pass from Ali Price and bounded over the line. Healy was accurate with the conversion as the Scots opened up a 15-6 advantage.

Italy got back into the match just after the hour, however, when Ioane went over on the left after a lovely pass from Allan, who duly converted.

Leicester lock Cam Henderson became the second Scotland debutant of the afternoon when he replaced Scott Cummings and the hosts regained control when Healy kicked another penalty in the 74th minute.

The Scots finished on a high note, with substitute Bayliss scoring his first international try – converted by the impressive Healy – in the last action of the match.

Rohan Watson, Sada Williams and Jonielle Smith were the Caribbean winners at Friday’s International Meeting of Athletics Solidarity Sport, a World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meet in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy.

Watson, who shocked many Track and Field fans when he produced a personal best 9.91 to win the 100m title at Jamaica’s National Championships last week, ran 10.11 to take first place ahead of Liberia’s Emmanuel Matadi (10.17) and Cuba’s Yenns Fernandez (10.20).

Jonielle Smith ran 11.19 to lead a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the Women’s equivalent. Natasha Morrison, who finished second at the National Championships to book a place on Jamaica’s 100m team to Budapest, ran 11.25 for second while Krystal Sloley ran a personal best 11.41 in third.

Barbados’ Commonwealth Champion in the 400m, Sada Williams, ran a meet record and season’s best 50.80 to take the event ahead of Jamaican Charokee Young (51.13) and the USA’s Kaylin Whitley (52.01).

Jamaica’s national record holder in the 400m, Rusheen McDonald, ran a season’s best 44.83 to finish second behind Botswanan sensation Letsile Tebogo, who ran a personal best 44.75 to take the win. South African Lythe Pillay was third in 45.57.

In the field, Christoff Bryan produced a best jump of 2.19m for third in the high jump behind Italy’s Manuel Lando (2.25m) and Marco Fassinotti (2.22m).

Italy beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the Nations League third-place play-off in Enschede.

Roberto Mancini’s side, who sealed Nations League bronze for the second tournament running, made a flying start as Federico Dimarco and Davide Frattesi put them 2-0 up in 20 minutes.

Steven Bergwijn reduced the deficit for the Netherlands midway through the second half, but Federico Chiesa struck Italy’s third four minutes later.

Georginio Wijnaldum ensured a nervy finale with the Netherlands’ second goal in the 89th minute, but it was not enough to prevent a third defeat in four games under boss Ronald Koeman, in his second stint in charge.

Croatia face Spain in the final at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam at 1945 on Sunday.

Ciro Immobile "feared for his daughters" and feels he had a lucky escape after the Lazio captain's car was hit by a tram on Sunday.

The Italy striker sustained a distortion trauma of the spine and a compound fracture of his rib when his vehicle was struck in Rome.

He was taken to the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital following the crash, which occurred while his two daughters were travelling with him.

Video footage showed substantial damage to the front of Immobile's car and the 33-year-old is relieved he was not driving a smaller vehicle.

He is quoting as saying in the Corriere dello Sport: "An incredible blow. I only thought about protecting my girls. A nightmare, I feared for them. Luckily both we and the tram driver are here to talk about it. With another car I don't know what would have happened."

Lazio president Claudio Lotito said: "Ciro is part of our family, he is a champion to whom I am particularly attached also from a human point of view. 

"We are with him and we hope he will return soon, but now he must have the utmost serenity to think about his health and to that of his daughters."

Immobile scored his 12th goal of the season from the penalty spot in second-placed Lazio's 3-0 win over Spezia last Friday.

 

Lazio captain Ciro Immobile walked away without suffering any serious injuries after his car collided with a tram on Sunday morning.

The Italy striker was reportedly taken to the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital following the crash in Rome.

It was reported Immobile's two daughters were also in his vehicle when the accident occurred in the Italian captain.

Lazio revealed in a statement that the 33-year-old sustained a distortion trauma of the spine and a compound fracture of his rib.

Immobile, who remains under observation in hospital in the Eternal City, said at the scene: "The tram ran a red light. Luckily I'm fine, my arm just hurts a little."

Video footage showed substantial damage to the front of Immobile's car.

Immobile scored his 12th goal of the season from the penalty spot in second-placed Lazio's 3-0 win over Spezia on Friday.

 

Christian Vieri believes criticism of Roberto Mancini's decision to call up Argentine-born Mateo Retegui to the Italy team is "dinosaur stuff".

Retegui was born and raised in Argentina, has spent his entire career in South America and cannot speak Italian, but he qualified for the Azzurri through a grandparent.

The striker, who counted Vieri as an idol, made his Italy bow this month, scoring against both England and Malta to prompt links to Inter.

There has still been scepticism around his role in the Italy side, with Mario Balotelli among those to suggest Mancini should be relying on players closer to home.

But that is not an assessment Vieri agrees with, having grown up in Australia before representing Italy at two World Cups.

"They are poor people," Vieri told Corriere della Sera of the critics. "It is an ancient mentality, dinosaur stuff.

"In Australia, I grew up with kids from all over the world."

He added of Retegui: "It is promising, a positive impact. A really nice goal against England, perfect control and immediate, precise shooting, and a pure centre-forward's goal in Malta.

"Mancio was right once again: if he sees a good player, he throws him in without much problem. In any case, Mateo has to play and still improve a lot."

Mancini has repeatedly pointed to the lack of Italian talent in forward positions in Serie A, perhaps best illustrated by runaway league leaders Napoli.

Georgia's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Nigeria's Victor Osimhen have inspired their outstanding campaign and are counted among Vieri's stars of the season – all of whom play for the Partenopei and none of whom are Italian.

"In first place is Kim [Min-jae]," Vieri said. "Kim Kardashian, I say.

"Seriously, I didn't even know who he was. And here I think back to [the work of Napoli sporting director Cristiano] Giuntoli. I was very impressed by the personality of the Korean.

"Then, of course, there's Kvaratskhelia – he seems to me George Best for the way he walks, dribbles, even for his hair.

"I say Osimhen, devastating. Italy completed him from all points of view, and today he is among the three strongest strikers in the world.

"Finally, we mustn't overlook the 'old' [Stanislav] Lobotka, who reminds me of Xavi, someone who made a mistake every 10 to 12 months."

Can Napoli win the Champions League as well as the Scudetto then?

"It wouldn't be a surprise for me, even if they'll have to be very careful about Milan," Vieri said.

Mateo Retegui's instant impact for Italy has left Roberto Mancini considering exploring further options for the Azzurri through the dual-citizenship ruling.

Argentina-born Retegui scored on his international debut for Italy in Thursday's 2-1 defeat to England and found the net again in the 2-0 victory over Malta three days later in Euro 2024 qualifying.

The striker's selection has sparked debate closer to home with Azzurri striker Mario Balotelli previously suggesting Mancini has enough attacking options to call upon from Italy.

But head coach Mancini has been encouraged by Retegui's early development and refused to rule out making similar moves in future.

He said at his post-match press conference: "Retegui is a goalscorer, it's no small thing. It's what we saw when we followed him. He still needs time, but he scores goals and it's an important quality.

"He has the qualities of a centre-forward, but now we have to wait, we have to give him time. He's like a student in a new school: he has to learn everything. But he has unlocked the game, that's no small thing.

"Retegui in Serie A would be a good thing, I think this would give him more strength, he would be able to learn the language and consequently communicate better with his team-mates."

Pressed on whether he would select more non-Italian natives, Mancini added: "Yes, it's a possibility. We have a small percentage of players in Serie A. In Switzerland, 15 out of 20 are natives.

"Belgium is the same. France, Germany, England are among the natives. Up until a certain number of years ago, we had strong players and we didn't need to.

"The others have done things to us, often they've taken away players we've raised and we'll do the same."

Victory over Malta leaves Italy three points behind embryonic Group C leaders England, with the Azzurri not again in action until June's Nations League semi-final against Spain.

"We just have to work and do the right things," Mancini added to Sky Sport Italia. "We always say the same things, we are becoming talkative.

"Work is a big word because there isn't time, we only have time to make them recover and to prepare a little something, there isn't time."

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