For the second time in a row Italy won't be part of the World Cup. In 2017 it was Sweden, this time it was North Macedonia that kicked
The Azzurri out of the most important soccer competition in the semifinal of the playoffs.
Italy didn't even survive long enough to face Portugal in a winner take all battle between two powerhouses looking to go to Qatar.
Instead they got bitten by a minnow that was +1700 to win at kickoff (odds courtesy of Casesars Sportsbook).
This is obviously the team's worst moment since Roberto Mancini became the coach of the National Team in May 2018.
It is also, bafflingly, the same team, and almost the same roster, that only nine months ago won the UEFA Euro 2020, defeating Belgium, Spain and England in the process.
While the final blow might have come against North Macedonia at the Renzo Barbera in Palermo, it's not as relevant as what happened in the months leading up to it.
An Italian side coming off of a dominant summer in 2021 should never have been in position to have to fight for their lives in a playoff to begin with.
Italy lost confidence, quality and the ambition that were key to winning the Euros last summer.
This terrible day didn't come out of the blue, it started last September when Italy failed to win against Bulgaria, Switzerland and Northern Ireland.
Italy became arrogant, thinking that after winning Euros qualifying for the World Cup would take care of itself. Well, it didn't. And this is just the final proof of it.
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