Why Italy is not at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

The journey of Italy by Roberto Mancini who will not be present at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The blue flop is only the latest of other failures of our national team and of a system that in general is having a hard time adapting to the growth and modernity of current football.

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The goal of Aleksandar Trajkovski on the night of 24 March 2022 at the ‘Renzo Barbera’ stadium in Palermo, it will always remain an open wound for the Italian people. There Blue national team he saw all his World Cup dreams fade in a second. For the second time in a row, Italy will not be able to access the final phase of the tournament after having already lost access to Russia 2018. The times when Buffon’s tears a San Siro for the 0-0 draw against Sweden had thrilled millions of fans. It had seemed like a hiccup, almost a skid, straightened out in part by the victory of the traveling European Championships that had brought Italy’s football back to the front pages of the whole world 15 years after the triumph in Germany 2006.

Instead, North Macedonia took care of bringing us all back down to earth, reminding us that we must never let our guard down. Jorginho’s two missed penalties against Switzerland in the group stage, which then allowed the Swiss to fly to Qatar as the first, had condemned Italy to the mad lottery of the playoffs which already seemed like a sentence given that in case of victory against Macedonia there would be waiting for the Azzurri in Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal final.

Macedonia's exultation at the triple whistle at Barbera.

Macedonia’s exultation at the triple whistle at Barbera.

And instead the reality was even harsher to digest: the reigning European champions failed to beat a team that is at the 65th place in the FIFA rankings. All finished in a flash, like a bad dream, which resurfaces today at the start of the World Cup. Italy accustomed – but evidently never enough – to failures of this type. In fact, the Azzurri have a not exactly positive tradition in this respect. In fact, our national team after winning the ’82 World Cup, 4 years later came out in the second round of Mexico ’86. It took 24 years to win a World Championship againbut after the triumph of 2006 only failures followed: elimination in the groups of the World Cups in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, in between the humiliating final of Euro 2012 lost 4-0 against Spain and today the debacle of Qatar 2022.

The desperation of the Azzurri after missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The desperation of the Azzurri after missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The qualification process in view of the next World Cup: when and where it will take place

Now there’s nothing left to do but look to the future, hoping that after two blows like these, Italy can finally understand the enormous damage done to an entire system after failing to qualify for the last two World Cups. In fact, the main objective now will have to be to conquer the2026 edition of the world championship scheduled in Canada, Mexico and the USA. On that occasion, Europe will have 3 more places for the final phase than the current 13.

Yes, because for the first time the World Cup will be played with 48 teams, 16 more than the current 32. Very likely, however, that there will still be the playoffs. And for the Azzurri the only way to avoid them will be to win their group in order not to run into a new nightmare that would be nothing short of dramatic for the whole movement. There will certainly be a few more chances and if Italy were to maintain their position in the top ten positions of the FIFA rankings, then they will also be confirmed as one of the top seeds.

Italy’s journey in qualifying with final elimination

Italy is therefore considered as an open building site but which despite everything has tried to get closer to the highest world goals with what remains to be taken from coach Roberto Mancini. And in fact the great regret concerns precisely the elimination from the group stage for the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Azzurri during the European Championships seemed invincible and the passage of the shift really seemed like a formality. Instead, too much euphoria made the players’ concentration drop, almost as if they had forgotten that that San Siro flop against Sweden had never existed. Instead, it was necessary to start from there to guarantee Italy’s access to the World Cup again.

Indeed, after the European Championships, Italy was still in first place with 9 points against Switzerland’s 7. But the journey of the Azzurri became complicated afterwards the draw against Bulgaria at the Franchi match on 2 September 2021. Mancini’s team subsequently also drew the direct match against Switzerland before winning against Lithuania. The draw in the second leg with the Swiss, complete with a double penalty missed by Jorginho, was a blow to the Azzurri who finished the group stage as runners-up after yet another draw in Northern Ireland. The rest is then part of the common memory with the first round of the playoffs against Macedonia lost due to that goal by Trajkovski which also denied the Azzurri the possibility of playing the final against Portugal. In one moment the World Cup was lost.

Italy 2006 World Champion eliminated in the 2010 edition in a seemingly simple group to overcome.

Italy 2006 World Champion eliminated in the 2010 edition in a seemingly simple group to overcome.

The two previous eliminations and two World Cup flops closed already in the group stage

A film already seen according to someone given that Italy managed to miss out on the World Cup for the second time in a row after the flop of Russia 2018. In that case Sweden was fatal in the play-offs who won the first leg 1-0 before to impose a draw on the Azzurri in the second leg in a full San Siro that had to swallow the bitter pill of a bitter disappointment to say the least. A resounding flop that of the blues that followed the other two incredible eliminations in the group stages of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. In the first, the one in South Africa, after the first two games that were disappointing to say the least, Italy had won just two points against Paraguay in their debut (1-1 goal by De Rossi) and the other against modest New Zealand (also in that case the match ended 1-1).

To advance to the next round it was therefore necessary to beat the third team in the group: Slovakia. Instead, the Azzurri were beaten 3-2 by Hamsik’s team on their absolute debut in a World Cup. Italy was humiliated and eliminated in the first round with just two points in a group where Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay were present. A scenario that was then repeated 4 years later in Brazil when the Azzurri started the group well by beating England 2-1 before collapsing against modest Costa Rica and Uruguay, still missing access to the round of 16.

Godin's goal that condemned Italy in 2014 to be eliminated again in the group stage after the knockout against Uruguay.

Godin’s goal that condemned Italy in 2014 to be eliminated again in the group stage after the knockout against Uruguay.

Football in Italy is light years away from the rest of Europe

Football in Italy is still considered a construction site. Works in progress, words, clichés and speeches already known, are now part of our daily lives. Football does not evolve and economic interests are always more important than the real needs of the whole movement which is struggling to be able to raise the young champions of tomorrow with serenity and patience. The academies have become reservoirs for the first teams, but only on paper. In practice, in fact, there are very few Italian clubs that use the products of their youth sector during the season.

Just think of the young players between the ages of 15 and 21 who took to the field in the 2011/2012 season, out of 2387, just 101 play in Serie A, while 44% of them ended up playing as amateurs, while 30% are in the the released. Simply put: a generational disaster. But the most worrying data is that relating to the use of Italian U21 players in Serie A: just 1.5% of the total. Overall, our Azzurrini played 18,874 minutes overall in Serie A. If that seems like a lot to you, know that in France they played 5 times more than ours. And to think that many were hoping for a revolution in 2015 when the FIGC created the network of Federal Territorial Centres.

Federico Chiesa and Nicolò Fagioli, products of the Fiorentina and Juventus nurseries.

Federico Chiesa and Nicolò Fagioli, products of the Fiorentina and Juventus nurseries.

The aim was to represent the territorial pole for the enhancement and technical-sports-educational training of young people from 13 to 14 years old. Unfortunately, however, today there are “just” 49 centers and also the introduction of the project relating to the B teams was a real flop given that only Juventus welcomed him making the most of the possibility of having the second Juventus team play in Serie C with the possibility of bringing out new elements that can be integrated into the main team. In short, nothing that could suggest a revolution of a system that is leaking from all sides, far from neighboring France and Germany, as well as Spain, which instead have invested a lot in young people.

Suffice it to say that the transalpines are renowned for being the head of a school of young footballers who over the years have given the national team countless players who are now absolute champions of this sport. The most famous example is the Clairefontaine Federal Technical Centre, where the best 13- to 15-year-olds residing in the Paris area are trained: it was inaugurated in 1987. And what about the German Football Federation which revolutionized the youth sectors in 2001, forcing the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 companies to have a team in all categories starting from the Under 12s. The Germans have built more than 300 federal centers, and today they are able to view around 600,000 kids every year.

Why Italy is not at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar