So you are often not that a lot into soccer, however you’ve got determined to tune in to the World Cup as a result of … properly … it is the World Cup!
Yet one thing feels off.
You’ve seen Lionel Messi’s Argentina on the fixture record. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal shall be in motion. Same for Neymar’s Brazil and Kylian Mbappe’s France. But the place’s Italy?
Italy are in any case the reigning European champions and arguably one in every of the strongest nationwide groups in the world.
You’d count on them to be at the World Cup!
Except they did not qualify this time round.
Only 32 groups qualify for the event, with the hosts the solely workforce assured of a spot. All the others should battle it out with their continental rivals for a restricted variety of locations. And that is the place issues went mistaken for Italy.
They had been paired with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania in Group C of the Uefa World Cup qualification, with the winner of the group reserving a direct ticket to the finals and the runners-up qualifying for the play-offs.
Now, that appeared like a really doable group for Italy they usually made a vivid begin, successful their opening three video games.
Nevertheless, attracts versus Bulgaria and Switzerland proved their opponents had been certainly not walkovers.
In reality, two extra attracts towards Switzerland and Northern Ireland noticed them end second in their group, with Chelsea midfielder Jorginho the villain of the group levels as he missed essential spot kicks in every of the matches towards the Swiss.
Not all was misplaced simply but, although, as they nonetheless have an opportunity of reserving their ticket for Qatar by way of the playoffs.
Unfortunately, North Macedonia proved to be too robust in what was arguably the largest shock of the qualification marketing campaign, which means Italy missed out on a spot at the World Cup for the second time in succession, having beforehand endured the similar destiny for the 2018 version in Russia.