The European champions, Italy are out. They have missed their 2nd consecutive World Cup and won’t even have the chance to face Portugal for a playoff final.
North Macedonia have caused one of the biggest upsets in qualifying history. With Aleksandar Trajkovski’s low drive in the 92nd minute of stoppage time breaking Italian hearts. With red explosions all over the stadium from the North Macedonian fans and players, it was “blue” emotion around the whole of Italy.
8 months ago Italy had announced themselves back on the big stage. After their shock failure to qualify to qualify for Russia 2018, they won every game in their qualifying, and won every game at Euro 2020 including a penalty shootout win against England in the final, the world thought the Italians had relaunched their status on the world stage.
But after this mornings defeat, it is another faliure on the world stage for a considered top footballing nation. Currently ranked 6th in the world, current European Champions, but have somehow missed out on the last 2 FIFA World Cups. There will be big questions asked, as they drew their last game with Northern Ireland in the last game of the group, costing them automatic qualification. Not only that, but they couldn’t even get passed North Macedonia to make it to the 2nd round of the playoff’s.
It will be 12 years and counting by the next time we see Italy, a 4 time world champion back on the big stage.