Italy It will be the great absence of Qatar World Cup which starts this weekend. those of Roberto ManciniEuropean champions in 2021, were the Big surprise of the qualifying phase after losing in the playoffs in a tie that, a priori, seemed quite affordable for the ‘azzurra’.
The reigning European champions were drawn in the qualifying group with Bulgaria, North Ireland, Lithuania Y Swiss. A group in which seemed favoritebut a series of four draws in the last five games they took her to be second behind Switzerland.
Italy started their qualifying phase in a pristine way winning 2-0 their first three games against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania in the break of March 2021. After that came the Euro Cup, from which they came out champion eliminating Spain in the semifinals, but in September of last year the ghosts began to appear already complicate the classification.
In the first stop after the Eurocup, Italy drew against Bulgaria and Switzerland and thrashed Lithuania 5-0. These results brought the ‘azzurra’ to the last break (November 2021) tied on points with Switzerland, but depending on themselves since they had to face each other. That party had a fatal outcome for those of Mancini, ending in a tie with one with Jorginho missing a penalty in stoppage time.
On the last day Switzerland thrashed Bulgaria 4-0 while Italy drew 0-0 in Northern Irelandwhich relegated the European champion to play the play-off as second in the group.
a whimsical draw
The play-off for this World Cup would also be different. Twelve European teams would fight for three tickets to Qatar in six semifinals and three single-match finals. The leading countries would be the second in each group in the qualifying phase and two other teams classified for their good performance in the Nations League.
But football had prepared a whimsical draw in which the two favourites, Portugal and Italy would be paired on the same side of the table, so they would face each other for a place in the World Cup in a hypothetical final. Portugal did their homework and beat Turkey 3-1 in their semifinal, but the surprise came at the Renzo Barbera in Palermo, where Italy fell 1-0 to North Macedonia thanks to a Trajkovski goal in stoppage time.
Poland Y Welsh they got the two remaining tickets.
Second consecutive World Cup without Italy
The one from Qatar will be the second consecutive World Cup in which Italy will not participate, which before 2018 had only missed two World Cup events (1930 and 1958).
The four-time champion has only added failures in the world championships since he lifted his last trophy in Germany in 2006. In South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 they fell in the group stage, while for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 they did not even qualify.
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