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24th Mar 2022

Italy knocked out of World Cup play-offs in late defeat to North Macedonia

Callum Boyle

Less than 12 months after winning the Euros, Italy will not be at the World Cup

Less than 12 months after winning the European Championships at Wembley Stadium, Italy will not be featuring at the 2022 World Cup following a late defeat to North Macedonia.

Embarrassment for Italy

Aleksandar Trajkovski’s 92nd minute winner for the away side helped to pull of an almighty shock against Roberto Mancini’s side and set up a play-off final tie against Portugal for a place in Qatar.

After being given far too much space and time to shoot, Trajkovski struck a fierce effort from outside the edge of the box, which arrowed into the bottom left hand corner and cued jubilation in the away end.

Italy were the overwhelming favourites and named a strong line-up, including the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nico Barella, Jorginho and Ciro Immobile, however they were knocked out in a new low for the Azzurri.

It’s the second time in a row that Italy have missed out on a World Cup finals spot after they were unsuccessful in their attempt to reach the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Italy World Cup

Who will Macedonia face?

Meanwhile for North Macedonia, fresh off the back of their first-ever appearance at a European Championship finals, will now have a chance to qualify for their first World Cup finals, but must overcome Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal first, who beat Turkey.

Goals from Otavio and Diogo Jota saw Nuno Santos’ team take a commanding 2-0 lead however Burak Yilmaz pulled one back in Porto before missing a penalty which would have take the game to extra-time. Matheus Nunes’ late goal then made sure of the win for Portugal.

The game between Portugal and Macedonia will take place on Tuesday March 29.

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