Despite success at club level, Mancini never became a regular for Italy. At the under-21 level, Mancini was part of the team which reached the semi-finals in the 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship and finished runners-up in 1986. He made his international senior squad debut at the age of 19, under Enzo Bearzot, on 26 May 1984, in a 2–0 away win against Canada in Toronto; he later won 36 caps, and scored four goals for his country. Mancini was a starting player at Euro 1988, where Italy reached the semi-finals; during the tournament, he scored a goal in a 1–1 draw against hosts West Germany, in the opening match of the tournament on 10 June. Mancini was also a non-playing member of Azeglio Vicini’s Italian squad that finished in third place at the 1990 World Cup on home soil. He was kept out of the side by competition from Gianluca Vialli, Salvatore Schillaci, Andrea Carnevale and Roberto Baggio. Mancini’s international career ended after a dispute with national team coach Arrigo Sacchi, when Mancini was upset because he would not be guaranteed a first team place at the 1994 World Cup. Fierce competition with other creative forwards for places in the starting line-up, such as Gianfranco Zola, Giuseppe Signori, Roberto Baggio and later Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero, hindered his international opportunities, hastening his self-imposed exile from the Italian national team. On May 14th 2018 Mancini succeeded caretaker Luigi Di Biagio as manager of the Italy national team. He signed an incentive-based contract, which would run until 2020, extended automatically to 2022 if Italy was to qualify for Euro 2020. Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup under Gian Piero Ventura after a play-off defeat to Sweden six months earlier. It was the first time Italy had failed to qualify for a World Cup since the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and the first major tournament they missed since UEFA Euro 1992. Mancini shaped the national team differently. Three of his assistants, Alberico Evani, Attilio Lombardo and Fausto Salsano, played successfully with him at Sampdoria in the 1990s, as well as Gianluca Vialli. Vialli joined as head of delegation in October 2019 after fighting pancreatic cancer. Mancini’s team did not include only players from the big teams based in Milan, Rome or Turin. Out of the 26 players, nobody grew up the big metropolises. Half of them came from villages with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants: 10 from the north of Italy, 7 from the middle, and 9 from the south. On 28 May 2018, Italy won their first match under Mancini, a 2–1 victory in a friendly over Saudi Arabia. On 12 October 2019, Italy qualified for Euro 2020 with three matches to spare after a 2–0 home win over Greece. On 15 October, with a 5–0 away win over Liechtenstein, Italy won its ninth consecutive match under Mancini, equalling the record set by Vittorio Pozzo between 1938 and 1939. Italy won all of their Euro 2020 qualifying matches in Group J, and set an unprecedented record of 10 victories in a single calendar year in 2019. In May 2021, Mancini’s contract with the Italian national team was extended until June 2026. In June 2021, Italy was the only team in UEFA Euro 2020 to win all three group stage matches without conceding a goal; Italy had the best goal difference, the most shots, and the most attempted through-balls at the tournament. On 26 June 2021, with a 2–1 win over Austria, Mancini led Italy to a record 31-match unbeaten streak, surpassing the 30-match streak set by Pozzo. On 11 July, Mancini led Italy to a 3–2 victory on penalties over England in the final of the tournament at Wembley Stadium, following a 1–1 draw after extra-time; this was Italy’s second European Championship title after 1968. On 5 September 2021, Mancini led Italy to their 36th unbeaten match, surpassing the world record of 35 set by Brazil and Spain. The unbeaten run was extended to 37 matches three days later with a 5–0 home win over Lithuania, but the streak was ended the following month with a 2–1 home loss to Spain in the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League A semi-finals. On 10 October, Italy went on to win the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League bronze medal following a 2–1 home victory over Belgium. On 24 March 2022, Italy lost 1–0 at home to North Macedonia during the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup qualification play-offs, failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, missing out on the tournament for the second consecutive time in their history. On 1 June, Italy were defeated 3–0 at Wembley Stadium by reigning Copa América champions Argentina in the 2022 Finalissima.