World Cup – How Italy did not qualify for Qatar 2022: Azzurri’s primary errors

Italy’s dismal failure to qualify for soccer’s largest event marked one other low level within the nationwide staff’s trendy historical past and Stephen Kasiewicz goes by the key errors that led to a different stunning elimination.

As a bunch of probably the most highly effective nations vie for the final word prize in Qatar, the Azzurri will likely be watching from afar. In an error-strewn qualifying marketing campaign, Italy have been lastly crushed in a humiliating dwelling run by minnows North Macedonia.

A disastrous cocktail of things contributed to a different huge disappointment for the nationwide staff.

From the shortcoming to discover a dependable goalscorer, the failure of a beforehand dependable penalty taker and the exclusion of proficient kids – and way more in between – coach Roberto Mancini went from the immeasurable pinnacle of victory to Euro 2020 to the ignominy of a very avoidable. qualifying output.

It began fairly promisingly with three consecutive two-goal Group C wins over Northern Eire in Parma and away to Bulgaria and Lithuania in March 2021. The 4-3-3 sport plan Mancini’s favourite was efficient because the Azzurri comfortably recorded a trio of wins within the video games they have been anticipated to win.

A protection organized by Leonardo Bonucci held agency, Immobilier scored twice amid a flurry of misfires and Domenico Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne flourished on the wings. The Azzurri took flight on the Euros three months later and picked up a spectacular event victory over England at Wembley whereas taking part in an aesthetically pleasing model of aggressive, urgent soccer.

Every little thing began to go downhill afterwards. Italy regularly stumbled from their peak on the Euros as key gamers deteriorated and kids have been left on the sidelines. The Azzurri endured a September to be forgotten as they one way or the other managed only one win in three irritating matches.

A worrying mixture of defensive frailty – lacking Giovanni di Lorenzo and Chiellini – coupled with an incapacity to transform a bunch of presentable alternatives marred a deflating 1-1 attract Florence towards Bulgaria. The continued absence of pacy wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola by harm has additionally stripped the Azzurri of a much-needed attacking outlet.

Federico Chiesa scored a superb particular person aim, however he solely masked noticeable cracks. The Azzurri’s overreliance on Juventus ahead for all issues artistic proved a big drawback as Motionless squandered good probabilities once more.

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Lavishness haunted Italy as they drew in a dangerous scoreless stalemate towards Switzerland. Berardi could not convert with simply keeper Yann Sommer to beat, and usually dependable Jorginho missed a penalty. Forwards James Raspadori and Nicolò Zaniolo featured against the Bulgarians and Swiss but weren’t given enough time to make a significant impact.

Italy have beaten Lithuania five times in a resounding success in Reggio Emilia, but they have barely made up for the previous two draws. Raspadori and Moise Kean started up front in an experimental side with the former scoring once and the latter twice. However, it was nothing more than a walk against the weakest team in the group.

The seeds of doubt resurfaced in November 2021 as two more draws severely hampered the Azzurri’s World Cup ambitions. Chiellini and Immobile were injured as a dynamic Switzerland took the lead in Rome. Italy could not match the energy and effort of the Swiss until a resurgence in the first half.

Nicolò Barella was denied from close range and Di Lorenzo headed in a deserved equaliser. Lone striker Belotti was often isolated and Chiesa only shone intermittently when substitute Berardi won a late penalty. Jorginho was no match for it and shot desperately over the bar. Although Italy remained top of the group on goal difference with the Swiss, the performance was far from convincing.

The worst was yet to come in the final group game in Belfast. Steeped in a combination of hesitation and apathy, the Azzurri were mediocre against a Northern Irish side who refused to back down. Immobile was out again as the front three of Insigne, Berardi and Chiesa struggled.

The Juventus winger curled up inches wide but despite introductions from forwards Belotti and Gianluca scamacca it was a sad night to forget. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was bailed out by Bonucci after a dismal blunder as Mancini’s side narrowly avoided a calamitous clash. Either way, the point gained was not enough as Switzerland beat Bulgaria 4-0 to top the group and earn automatic qualification for Qatar.

The European champions had only one shot left in the last chance square of the World Cup play-offs. They had to wait until March 2022 to face the foreigners from North Macedonia in Palermo. The long delay inevitably led to weeks of premature talks over a final showdown against either Portugal or Turkey. Still, old problems remained as North Macedonia unlikely sealed a resounding victory.

It was a collective fiasco, but the same underperforming individuals were at fault. Immobile returned but only made one real effort and was starved. Berardi managed to miss an open goal and squandered several other chances. A midfield that contained Jorginho, Barelle and Marco Verratti caused flashes of inspiration and enthusiasm but were devoid of any real sparkle.

Infiltrated with nervousness and desperation, Gianluca Mancini looked shaky at the back with Chiellini not fit enough to start and Bonucci absent. Forwards Raspadori and debutant João Pedro were launched as the situation looked increasingly dire. Two minutes into added time, former Palermo striker Alexandre Trajkovski unleashed a powerful low drive with the sleeping Italian defence. It was one of two shots on target for North Macedonia, but it was enough to knock the Azzurri out of the World Cup. A calamity of seismic proportions.

Despite the dramatic collapse, Mancini retained his coaching position. The European Championship triumph had earned him enough goodwill to stick around even after the unthinkable had become reality. First Russia and now Qatar, another World Cup without the participation of four-time tournament winners Italy.

@SKasiewicz

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