The 2022 World Cup will be played without the Italy team. GOAL looks back on the failure of the Italians in the qualifiers.
The 2022 World Cup takes place in Qatar from November 20 to December 18 with 32 teams. But Italy are not among them as Squadra Azzurra failed in the qualifiers. GOAL returns to the incredible miss of the Italians.
Which World Cup 2022 qualifying group was Italy in?
The draw for the 2022 World Cup Europe Zone Qualifiers took place on December 7, 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Top-seeded Italy were placed in Group C along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
The winner of the group was directly qualified for the final phase of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar while the second reached the play-offs in the Europe zone with twelve teams for three qualifying places.
The teams placing third, fourth and fifth in the group were eliminated.
Where did Italy finish in their qualifying group for the 2022 World Cup?
Italy finished second in Group C with 16 points (4 wins, 4 draws, 0 losses) behind Switzerland (18 points).
Northern Ireland took third place with 9 points ahead of Bulgaria (8 points) and Lithuania (3 points).
Why was Italy overtaken by Switzerland?
Before the last two days of the Group C qualifiers, Italy were tied on points with Switzerland (14 points). The Italians, however, occupied the top of the group due to a better goal difference.
On the penultimate day, Italy received Switzerland in Rome and the two teams ended in a draw (1-1). The Italian Jorginho missed a penalty at the last minute preventing his team from winning the match and taking a three-point lead over the Nati.
On the final day of the qualifiers, Italy traveled to Northern Ireland while Switzerland hosted Bulgaria. The Nazionale and Switzerland then have 15 points and Italy was still at the top of the group thanks to a better goal difference (+11 against +9).
To qualify directly for the World Cup, Italy had to meet one of these conditions:
• Win in Northern Ireland without Switzerland winning against Bulgaria by making up for their goal difference.
• Draw in Northern Ireland and Switzerland do not win against Bulgaria.
• Losing to Northern Ireland and Switzerland also losing to Bulgaria but not making up for their goal difference.
But unfortunately for them, the Italians did a worse result than the Swiss. Squadra Azzurra drew in Northern Ireland (0-0) while Switzerland crushed Bulgaria 4-0 thus taking the group lead and sending second-placed Italy to the play-offs.
Who was Italy’s opponent in the European zone play-offs?
Twelve teams took part in the play-offs. They were divided into three different routes with two knockout matches to play: a semi-final and then a final.
Italy were placed in Path C against North Macedonia and their potential opponent for the final was either Portugal or Turkey (who faced each other in Lisbon in the other semi-final).
Being seeded, Italy received North Macedonia on March 24, 2022 in Palermo. Italy outrageously dominated the game (32 shots) but showed an incredible lack of realism (only five shots on target). The selection coached by Roberto Mancini finally lost in stoppage time on a long shot from Alexandre Trajkovski (90 + 3rd).
The Italians were therefore eliminated even before the final of the play-offs. A final won by Portugal with a score of 2-0 against North Macedonia.
How many times have Italy missed the FIFA World Cup?
Italy have participated in the World Cup 18 times (in 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014) and has only been absent from the finals four times (in 1930, 1958, 2018 and 2022).
Already not qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this is the first time in its history that Italy misses the final phase twice in a row.
Not to miss
Why did Italy not qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? | Goal.com English