Four years ago, Italy failed to qualify in the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. It was a tearful moment for the team as well as the country, it wasn’t just a loss, it was the end of a streak of decades. Pledging never to let it happen again, the team moved forward.
The Thursday game between North Macedonia and Italy unfolded shocking results as Italy was ousted yet again from the race to the World Cup with 0-1. North Macedonia’s triumph over Italy in the UEFA World Cup Qualifiers marks Italy’s second consecutive loss, breaking the pledge.
North Macedonia’s win over Italy in the World Cup qualifiers
After a constant parry of offence and defence from both sides, Aleksandar Trajkovski of North Macedonia took the deciding shot in the 92nd minute of the game. Robert Mancini led Italy took a total of 32 shots but missed their chances at the qualifiers.
Ciro Immobile also squandered a golden opportunity for Italy in the first half, blasting over the bar from a strong position. North Macedonia must now go against Portugal, where Cristiano Ronaldo’s team defeated Turkey 3-1.
North Macedonia, which is ranked 67th in the world by FIFA and is sandwiched between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, has never qualified for a major tournament before the European Championship last summer.
Meanwhile, Italy had a great time last summer. It delivered a bold message to international soccer on the unfriendly ground of London’s Wembley Stadium. It had a smooth functioning, as well as unity and belief. Italy’s loss in the qualifiers will put a halt to their participation in the UEFA.