Italian media cling to hopes of Azzurri playing at Qatar World Cup
The term 'clutching at straws' comes to mind
Fresh from the embarrassment of failing to qualify for their second consecutive World Cup, Italy are - reportedly, at least - holding onto very faint hopes that they might still clinch qualification for Qatar.
Less than 12 months after their success in the European Championships, Roberto Mancini's side were knocked out in the play-offs by a 92nd minute winner from North Macedonia.
Reports in Italy, however, are suggesting that there could yet be a way for the Azzurri to reach Qatar, albeit extremely unlikely.
Concerning scenes in Iran could open the door for Italy, reports say
The idea stems from the horrifying scenes which took place in Iran on Tuesday as 2,000 women who tried to attend their nation's World Cup qualifier against Lebanon were treated abhorrently.
Around 2,000 women had tickets for Iran's game against Lebanon on Tuesday night, however horrific scenes unfolded as security refused them entry to the stadium and used pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowds https://t.co/7vIkQa4Wwu
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) March 30, 2022
Security used pepper spray and heavy-handed tactics to prevent women from entering the stadium. Sadly this isn't the first time incidents like this have happened in Iran, who have previously been warned by FIFA.
According to Football-Italia, a member of the Iranian Football Federation Mehrdad Seradsch had posted on social media that he had received 'worrying news' from both FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) about what had happened.
It's possible that Iran could face punishment, with one of the more severe consequences potentially resulting in Iran being removed from the World Cup altogether.
Why does the Italian press think Italy could still qualify?
In the unlikely event that Iran are booted out, logically, the most sensible decision would be to allow another nation from the AFC to take their place. But this is football and, as we all know, logic doesn't always come into it.
For that reason it's been suggested that the nation with the highest-ranking coefficient that hasn't qualified would be a better option to replace Iran. In this case, it would be Italy, whose coefficient has been boosted by their Euro 2020 triumph last summer.
Any decision like that would surely spark outrage amongst others who have failed to qualify - namely the potentially overlooked AFC nations.
Tomorrow England, and 31 other nations, will find out who they will play in the World Cup group stage.
Ahead of Friday's draw, check out everything you need to know here🏆: https://t.co/ATDsu149b5
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) March 31, 2022
If you're Italian, maybe don't bother getting your hopes up too much. It's almost certainly not coming to Rome.
- Qatar World Cup chief executive calls out Gareth Southgate
- Calls for FIFA to ban Iran after women pepper sprayed trying to enter football match
- Italy knocked out of World Cup play-offs in late defeat to North Macedonia