The group of Italians who won the European Championship just eight months ago failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. When Italy missed out on the last World Cup, it was considered a disaster for soccer in the country. Missing it for the second time in a row caused the Tuttosport newspaper to publish a headline screaming “NOOOOOOOO!”
The Italian squad was beaten by North Macedonia on Thursday 1-0 in the semifinal playoff. The team failed to convert dozens of chances and Aleksandar Trajkovski scored in injury time to secure an upset victory. North Macedonia is ranked 67th in the world. Italy beat England in penalties to win the Euro 2020 title last July.
The Italian coach Roberto Mancini said “our triumph at the Euros was fully deserved. But then some of the fortune we had in the tournament transformed into total and complete bad luck, … It almost feels like conceding a last-minute goal was fitting. I don’t know what to say. Maybe we shouldn’t even have got to this point.”
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