World Cup qualifiers, what happened to Italy: How did last summer’s Euro champions fail to win their group?

Italy’s 0-0 draw away from Northern Ireland along with Switzerland’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria on Monday mean European Group C ends with top-team Switzerland on two points, giving them a spot in the Premier League. a spot for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while the Italians are dropped out in the knockout stages.

The Azzurri, less than six months on from their success at the 2020 UEFA European Championship, find they have to approach Qatar the hard way. This despite having started their campaign strong before post-Euro wobbles and a destructive UEFA Nations League campaign stalled their progress.

Roberto Mancini’s men will remain among the favorites to advance alongside Portugal, Sweden and Scotland, but there are plenty of other wilds that could give Italy some time difficult. The new playoff system of three groups of four, with each group playing a semi-final first leg followed by a final means Italy has plenty of room to get ahead, even if they still might be in the lead. fall in the net of Qatar. Only Portugal, Scotland and Russia are sure to be seeded with them, meaning there are still plenty of dangerous sides that Italy could have to overcome.

“I’m disappointed,” said the 56-year-old from Windsor Park. “We made life complicated for ourselves and our ability to qualify should have been blocked for at least two games before. We had our chances and didn’t take them.

“Now, we have to keep our feet on the ground because there is still a possibility of going to the World Cup.”

How panel C was turned up

Three matches have passed, Italy has a 100% record with six goals scored, not conceded and seems to be rising to the top. Then they were cursed by the success of Euro.

After their win in London, they were immediately dropped to Bulgaria and Switzerland before being taken further by Murat Yakin’s Swiss team while the Italians were third in the Nations League.

The Swiss once again secured their place against the Azzurri with another draw and with convincing wins over Northern Ireland and Lithuania, Nati closed the gap enough to switch places on the final day as they blew the Bulgarians while Mancini’s football team works in Belfast.

Big Euro hangover

Looking at the post-Euro results, the Italian side have clearly suffered from post-success fatigue with eight points dropped since that memorable day at Wembley Stadium with four of them against Switzerland. Si with 2 penalties missed by Jorginho.

However, four defeats against Bulgaria and Northern Ireland – especially the previous one at home – proved the most expensive with Bulgaria’s defeat in the first game back from their summer win and two points. final difference.

“I continue to believe we are a great team,” Mancini added in Belfast. “This is a difficult time – we have thrown away the qualifications we have in our hands. We have to find our composure for March and keep playing.

“I believe we will get to the World Cup. We have two games left to play and will definitely do the right thing. There is no reason to find why we are in this situation. All that we are. All I can do is prepare for March.” “

Broken undefeated run

Equally important was Spain’s loss in the Nations League final, which saw Italy’s 37-match unbeaten streak end before recovering with a win over Belgium to finish third.

That record is over and the gap in Group C has closed to be level with the Swiss making the final two matches of the qualifiers of great importance.

Injuries also played a part and the well-timed loss of Ciro Immobile, who, despite failing to catch fire at Euro 2020 and scoring no more than two goals in these qualifiers, is still vitally important to Mancini’s plans, isn’t it? is ideal.

The Lazio player has been ruled out for both matches due to muscle problems while injured Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is also absent. As a result, the Italian side was simply not active enough. Despite trying for a win on Monday in Northern Ireland, the team made just 12 shots and 0.92 goals were expected.

What is next?

Italy will most likely still qualify for the knockout round against Qatar, but they are on the verge of missing out on a second World Cup in a row, they will have to go through that pain again, which will certainly bring back to the specter of 2018 as Sweden advanced 1-0 at their expense.

It was those circumstances that paved the way for Mancini to come in and turn the Azzurri’s fortunes around but there is little argument that this is a stronger Italian side than the one humiliated under Time Piero Ventura.

The draw will be done later this month and it is expected that Italy, whichever they are eliminated from, will treat their opponents as one that is easily beaten on two feet. | World Cup qualifiers, what happened to Italy: How did last summer’s Euro champions fail to win their group?


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