‘Crushed and broken’, Italy to miss World Cup again

March 26, 2022

Italy again failed to qualify for the World Cup as North Macedonia produced one of the great smash-and-grab performances to steal a 1-0 victory in Palermo.
Roberto Mancini’s Euro 2020 winners dominated possession but struggled to break down their opposition, who consistently blocked and repelled everything that was thrown at them.
Then, in injury time, the visitors took a shock lead. Aleksandar Trajkovski capitalised on some indecisive Italian defending to get a show away which crept past Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the bottom corner.
Italy also failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing to Sweden in a two-legged play-off. Missing two straight World Cups is an unprecedented low point for the four-time champions, especially just months after winning Euro 2020.
It’s the second successive World Cup Italy have not qualified for, having last featured at the tournament in 2014.

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