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World Cup 2022 | Italy are eliminated by North Macedonia

(Palermo) Qatar will remain a mirage for Italy: despite its coronation at the Euro and four stars of world champion on the shirt, the Nazionale will miss the World Cup for the second time in a row, unheard of, after its surprise defeat against North Macedonia (0-1) Thursday in Palermo.

Updated March 24

Anthony Lucas
France Media Agency

The Azzurri, unable to score despite an avalanche of chances (32 shots), were crucified in added time by Macedonian striker Aleksandar Trajkovski (90+2e), an ex-player from… Palermo.

It is “Italian style” that Macedonia, as noted by its coach Bobi Milevski, thus won the right to go to the play-off final in Portugal to try a new feat: to go for the first time in its World Cup history.

” It is difficult to explain […]. we are destroyed, all the adjectives you want, “said captain azzurro Giorgio Chiellini, who entered at the end of the match and who, at 37, will no longer have the opportunity to taste the scent of a World Cup.


Macedonian players celebrate their victory.

“This summer I experienced my greatest joy and today is the biggest disappointment, it’s difficult to speak…”, underlined coach Roberto Mancini, “sorry” for his players who go still be deprived of the finest competition of nations.

Very far from its lightness of last summer, when it seduced Europe and triumphed over England at Wembley, Roberto Mancini’s Nazionale displayed its offensive impotence for 95 minutes.

Here she is back four years, at the bottom of the wave where the defeat had left her, in the round-trip play-offs, against Sweden (0-1, 0-0), deprived of the World Cup in 2018 for the first times for 60 years.

too much frenzy

This “apocalypse” which has long haunted Italian football, and which the “Magic Nights” of Wembley finally seemed to have chased away, will undoubtedly have weighed in Italian heads.

In an attempt to ease the pressure, Italy had nevertheless headed south, in search of the warmth of Sicily and the public of Palermo, and had obtained an exemption to be able to play in front of a full stadium (33,000 spectators) , a first in Italy since the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.

But it was ultimately the small colony of a few hundred supporters from Macedonia who celebrated for long minutes after the final whistle, up there in the stands.

The Italian tifosi did not spare their support, however, but howls of disappointment concluded each of the incursions of the band of Mancini, who had a lot of desire, but also too much frenzy.

The Italians forced too many shots, like Marco Verratti above (25e) imitated by Niolo Barella next door (28e), when they did not come up against the compact Macedonian defense like Ciro Immobile (20e38e) or on the goalkeeper like Lorenzo Insigne (33e).

Donnarumma will have to wait

The biggest Italian chance of the match was for Domenico Berardi, with his legs on the right side, but who did not press his shot enough in front of the empty goal, after a completely missed recovery from goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski (29e)!

Too happy to see half-time arrive on this 0-0, Macedonia, generally inoffensive, even gradually gained confidence: Alessandro Florenzi had to come back at full speed on Darko Churlinov who was spinning on goal (39e) and Gianluigi Donnarumma folded well on the first Macedonian strike of the match, signed Aleksandar Trajkovski (45e).

As if overtaken by this “little arm” that Chiellini feared the day before, Italy tried again by all means after the break, with an active Verratti in the maneuver, but a decidedly clumsy Berardi: he framed without danger ( 53e) then just missed the target (54e), shot over in good position (58e) then was blocked five yards from the line (63e).

The substitutes – Giacomo Raspadori entered in place of a transparent Badge, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Joao Pedro – did no better, still seeing a foot repel their strike.

And while Roberto Mancini threw Chiellini into the bath for the final push, it was Macedonia who struck. Donnarumma couldn’t do anything this time. The Paris-SG goalkeeper will still have to wait to discover the pleasure of playing a World Cup match.


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