FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that he is disappointed that Italy failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as he lamented the fact that the next generation of Italians wouldn't be able to witness their team in the competition. The Azzurri will miss their second successive World Cup.
Italy played North Macedonia at home in Palermo in their crucial play-off semi-final clash but ended up failing to live upto expectations as the away side secured a stunning 1-0 victory over the Azzurri. The Euro 2020 champions were the overwhelming favourites to progress into the finals and reflected their dominance throughout the match. Italy had an incredible 32 shots at goal, to North Macedonia's four but couldn't find a breakthrough.
The contest looked set for extra time after 90 minutes until Aleksandar Trajkovski fired home a stunning late goal to secure a shock win for North Macedonia. The defeat means that they will become one of three sides to win the Euros but miss out on the World Cup.
Italy’s exit has become the topic of attention over the past week as the footballing world reacted to the shocking upset. FIFA chief Infantino who was born in Switzerland expressed his disappointment at the fact that the Euro 2020 champions will not play in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
“I really want to cry. For all the Italians it is sad, it is the second World Cup in a row in which the Azzurri do not participate, and if they qualify for the next World Cup it will be 12 years of absence,” Infantino told Rai Sport.
“I think back to when I was a kid, the emotions of watching the World Cup in 1978 and 1982, these are the things that make you fall in love with football. It's sad for the Italian children, but this is the situation, only 32 can qualify and the World Cup is every four years. For now…, he added.