Thunderbolt: the Squadra Azzura, despite its coronation at the Euro and its four stars of world champion on the jersey, will not go to Qatar this fall, eliminated from the World Cup by the North Macedonia team (0- 1) after a surprising play-off match, Thursday March 24 in Palermo.
The Azzurri, unable to score despite an avalanche of chances (32 shots), were crucified in added time by Macedonian striker Aleksandar Trajkovski (90 + 2nd), a former player from… Palermo.
Macedonia, at the World Cup for the first time
Macedonia, generally harmless for 90 minutes, won the right to go to the play-off final in Portugal to try a new feat: go for the first time in its history at the World Cup.
Very far from its lightness of last summer, when it had seduced Europe and triumphed over England at Wembley, the Nazionale of Roberto Mancini stumbled for 95 minutes on the courageous Macedonian team. Here is Italy back four years, at the bottom of the wave where the defeat had left it, in the round-trip play-offs, against Sweden (0-1, 0-0), deprived of the World Cup in 2018 for the first time in 60 years.