After a shocking defeat to North Macedonia, Italy is officially out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 2020 Euro champions lost the European playoff on Thursday, in a rather dramatic 1-0 loss against the southeast European nation.
This is the second time in a row that the Azzurri will miss out on competing in the world’s biggest football competition, after failing to qualify for the competition in 2018.
Roberto Mancini’s side had a total of 32 efforts at the goal but somehow came up short on the end result. It was Aleksandar Trajkovski’s last-minute heroics that sent the North Macedonian team into the next round, where they’ll face Portugal.
Speaking on the occasion, Italian midfielder Jorginho said, “It is a huge disappointment. It hurts, it hurts so much. We have always created and dominated matches but we have not been able to finish teams off. It is not to blame anyone in particular but it is the reality.”
Image credits – Football Italia
“I don’t know why we haven’t been able to do this, I am also involved in this, and it hurts me to think about it,” he added.
Trouble was already brewing for Italy when veteran defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini stayed out of the starting 11, due to injuries. Italy’s Ciro Immobile came close in the first half, but his effort went blazing over the bar.
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini’s future as the head coach has also come into question after the loss.
“Just as last July was the best thing I experienced at a professional level, this is the greatest disappointment,” said Mancini, further adding “Soccer is like that, sometimes incredible things happen.”
As expected, Italy’s defeat and subsequent elimination has sent shockwaves through the footballing world, with an avalanche of reactions pouring in from fans:
(Featured image Credits – B/R Football )