Italy miss out on FIFA World Cup berth: Key numbers
European champions Italy will not be featuring in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year. Italy were stunned 1-0 by minnows North Macedonia in the World Cup playoffs. Aleksandar Trajkovski's late goal helped North Macedonia claim a crucial win. Earlier, Italy failed to gain qualification after finishing second in the World Cup European Qualifying (Group C). Here's more.
Italy dominated possession but failed to penetrate the North Macedonia defence. They registered just five shots on target from 32 attempts. Ranked 67th in the world, North Macedonia stayed strong defensively and got the desired winner in the 92nd minute. Trajkovski picked up the loose ball to drive forward and fire a sensational winner. North Macedonia will feature in the play-off final against Portugal.
- Italy achieved a new high when they beat England to win the Euro 2020.
- They were terrific, having been considered the outsiders going into the tournament.
- However, no World Cup now for a second successive time will feel as a big let down.
- The players will be absolutely gutted after a disjointed performance.
- Italy will need to regroup and start fresh.
By missing a ticket for the Qatar World Cup, Italy will not be taking part in the coveted event in two successive editions for the first time ever. As per Opta, Italy did not conceded a single touch in their own box for the first time in a 2022 World Cup Qualifier first half.
As per Squawka Football, Italy are the fourth defending European champions who have failed to qualify for the next World Cup after Czechoslovakia (1978), Denmark (1994), Greece (2006). Notably, in July, Italy won the Euro 2020 trophy. In September, the Azzurri set a new record for the longest unbeaten run in international history. And now, they won't play in the World Cup.
Portugal ran 3-1 winners versus Turkey, keeping their hopes alive to gain World Cup qualification. Otavio and Diogo Jota gave Portugal a 2-0 lead before Burak Yilmaz pulled one goal back for Turkey. However, Matheus Nunes scored the third in stoppage time. Elsewhere, a Gareth Bale brace helped Wales beat Austria 2-1. Meanwhile, Sweden needed extra-time to beat the Czech Republic 1-0.