sport news Euro 2020: Robertos Mancini and Martinez meet for first time since 2013 FA Cup ...

sport news Euro 2020: Robertos Mancini and Martinez meet for first time since 2013 FA Cup ...
sport news Euro 2020: Robertos Mancini and Martinez meet for first time since 2013 FA Cup ...

Roberto Mancini and Roberto Martinez not only share a name, but their managerial careers are curiously intertwined.

On May 11, 2013 the pair shared a touchline for the ninth time in four years, with Martinez still looking for his first win over Mancini, who had won the last seven.

What followed was the biggest FA Cup final shock in modern history as little Wigan toppled mega-rich Manchester City, thanks to an injury-time winner from Ben Watson. It would be both managers' final matches at their respective clubs, and remains the last time the pair have met. Until tonight.

Italy boss Roberto Mancini has enjoyed a fine Euro 2020 so far

As has Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, an old rival

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Italy boss Roberto Mancini has enjoyed a fine Euro 2020 so far (left), as has Belgium coach Roberto Martinez (right), an old rival from their days managing in the Premier League

Robertos Mancini (left) and Martinez (right) on the Wembley touchline in the 2013 FA Cup final

Robertos Mancini (left) and Martinez (right) on the Wembley touchline in the 2013 FA Cup final

The 10th meeting between the two Robertos takes place in Munich as Martinez's Belgium take on Mancini's Italy for a place in the Euro 2020 semi-final. 

Despite Belgium being ranked No 1 in the world, most bookmakers have Italy as the marginal favourites. Unlike that day in May 2013, it is as close to a 50-50 call as you could get. It is certainly the standout fixture of the quarter-finals, with the tournament's two form teams meeting.

Italy breezed through their group playing a brand of attacking, possession-based football we are not used to seeing from the Azzurri. They weren't at their best in the last-16 against Austria, but Federico Chiesa's extra-time winner will only have strengthened their resolve.

Belgium have had tougher challenges, edging past holders Portugal in the last-16 after coming from behind against an emotionally-charged Denmark in Copenhagen in the group stage - but they have done nothing to suggest their pre-tournament billing as favourites is wide of the mark. The main concern for Martinez, and perhaps the reason the bookmakers are leaning towards Italy, are injury concerns over key men Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. 

Wigan pulled off a massive shock by beating City to win the FA Cup in Martinez's final game

Wigan pulled off a massive shock by beating City to win the FA Cup in Martinez's final game

Manchester City won their first league title since 1968 under Mancini in 2012

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Manchester City won their first league title since 1968 under Mancini in 2012

Whatever the result tonight, both managers deserve credit for rebuilding their careers by drilling in clear systems and styles to their teams, which is not easy to do in international football with limited time available to work on the training ground. Both bosses have shown their pragmatism too, with Mancini's 4-3-3 and Martinez's 3-4-3 both systems designed to fit the players, rather than vice-versa. 

That Italy have played the most attractive football so far at Euro 2020 does not just go against the grain of the Azzurri, but of Mancini too. When he was sacked by City in 2013 and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini, the club infamously released a statement saying that wanted a more 'holisitic' approach to their football. In short, they were fed up of Mancini's turgid tactics and wanted to watch better football. 

The wheels were already in motion before the FA Cup final, the defeat just made Mancini's sacking a little easier for City to manage, with it coming

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