What after Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup?

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Last updated: Dec 1, 2022 at 16:28 IST

Italy coach Roberto Mancini (Reuters)

Italy coach Roberto Mancini (Reuters)

Italy failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, just like the “Azzurri” who missed the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Italy, four-time world champions, failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Globalism Qatar Cup, which is the second time in a row that the “Azzurri” have been absent from the tournament.

Here’s what you need to know about what comes next for the European champions:

How was the World Cup qualification campaign in Italy incomplete?

  • In UEFA World Cup qualifying, Italy were drawn into Group C alongside Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
  • The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years ago.
  • They started with three straight wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for last year’s European Championships.
  • After winning the continental championship, they drew twice in a row with Bulgaria and Switzerland, before winning 5-0 at home against Lithuania.
  • With two matches remaining, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but they drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave the two teams level heading into the final round.
  • Four months after their success at Euro 2020, Italy’s 0–0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after beating Bulgaria, sending Mancini’s side through to the qualifiers.
  • Italy missed out on the play-off after a stunning 1-0 loss at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski’s last-ditch goal.
  • North Macedonia advanced to the final, where they lost 2-0 to Portugal, who finished in the World Cup spot.

Why did Italy not qualify for the 2018 World Cup?

  • Italy finished second in Group G of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
  • They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held 0-0 at home in 2017 by challenger Sweden, who booked a place in the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate victory.
  • The Italians, who had not missed a World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, watched Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon announce their retirement from the national team immediately after the match.

What’s next for Italy?

European champions Italy will begin their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with their opening match against England in March – a repeat of last year’s final.

The 24-team finals will be held in 10 stadiums across Germany.

They also qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League after topping the group with Hungary, Germany and England.

The Azzurri will meet Croatia, Spain and the Netherlands in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and Enschede. The semi-final match will be held on June 14 and 15 of next year, while the third and final place match is scheduled for June 18.

Italy finished third in the 2020-21 Nations League, losing to runners-up Spain in the semifinals before overcoming Belgium for the bronze medal.

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