Italy Won’t Qualify for 2022 FIFA World Cup After Stunning Loss to North Macedonia | Bleacher Report

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The 2020 European champions won’t be in Qatar this winter.

Italy shockingly failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after losing to North Macedonia 1-0 in a European playoff semifinal Thursday.

Aleksandar Trajkovski’s injury-time goal stunned the Italians and left them out of their second straight World Cup.

ESPN-FC @ESPNFC

NORTH MACEDONIA!!! ONE OF THE GREAT UPSETS OF ALL TIME 🤯

AS IT STANDS, ITALY ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP! pic.twitter.com/DBRBcUhZC5

North Macedonia will face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal with a berth in the World Cup up for grabs.

It’s hard to imagine that the Italian men’s national team—which has won four World Cup titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and two European crowns (1968, 2020)—will miss the World Cup for a second straight time.

Suffice it to say, Twitter had its takes after the Azzurri’s failing:

“It’s difficult to explain, I think we again had a good game and just didn’t score the goal. I don’t think anyone can say we were presumptuous,” Giorgio Chiellini told RAI Sport after the match (h/t Soccer Italia). “We made mistakes from September to now and paid for them. I am proud of my teammates and this group, clearly we are distraught, we have to get restarted.”

“I’m more than disappointed. I’ve nothing to say,” manager Roberto Mancini added, by journalist Fabrizio Romano. “Something incredible happened tonight. We deserved to win the Euros, now we’ve been really unlucky… but that’s it, that’s the reality. I’m sorry for the players.”

Given this latest failure, Mancini’s future as the country’s manager will obviously face scrutiny. He declined to address his future Thursday:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Roberto Mancini on his future as Italy head coach: “We will see. Now I feel too disappointed to speak about my future, we will see”, he told Rai Sport. 🔵 #Italy

“I’m sure this team has a great future. I’m supporting these players now more than ever”. pic.twitter.com/bwXAC4uK2f

But the players will face just as much scrutiny. This was not an inexperienced group, with Jorginho, Ciro Immobile, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne and Chiellini in action, among others.

Those players will carry the weight of Italy’s failure as much as Mancini, a burden they’ll bear for the next four years.

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