Italy’s national football team, which won the Euro Cup last year, will miss the FIFA Football World Cup for the second time in a row. Italy were knocked out in the UEFA qualifier knockout of the European nations after losing 1–0 against a team like North Macedonia. The only goal of the match, Macedon’s team scored in extra time to not only keep their hopes of playing their maiden World Cup but also beat four-time world champion Italy at home, away from the World Cup.
The worst time for Italy, which was dominating the entire match, came in the 92nd minute when Alexander Trajkowski scored for North Macedonia. This goal was checked with VAR and found to be correct. Four minutes later, Italy got a free kick but Yoao Pedro failed to convert it into a goal and Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the second time in a row since 2018. After this defeat, while the fans of the whole country are upset with the Italian team, the team and fans of North Macedonia are not sure of the result. Italy won the World Cup four times in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006.
The special thing is that last year North Macedonia played the biggest tournament in its football history in the form of Euro Cup. And now the team is just one victory away from participating in the first World Cup. The Macedonian team now has to take the field against Portugal in the playoff final on March 29, the team that wins will qualify for the World Cup.
Portugal’s victory, Austria’s shock defeat
In other qualifier playoff matches, Portugal defeated Turkey 3–1 to secure a place in the playoff final. Portugal team will now face North Macedonia. On the other hand, Sweden kept the hopes of the World Cup confirmed after beating the Czech Republic 1-0. Sweden will now take on Poland in the match to be held on March 29. Poland were given a walkover in their knockout match due to the ban imposed on Russia. In the last match of the day, Wales surprised Austria with a 2–1 defeat. Gareth Bale scored both goals for Wales. Wales will face the winner of the match between Scotland and Ukraine.
A total of 13 teams from the European Football Association will get a chance to participate in the 32 teams of the World Cup final. Of these, 10 teams have made it to the top of the group qualification matches. Austria and the Czech Republic also found a place in these groups based on the second-ranked teams and the Nations League rankings. Knockout matches are going on for the finals of the qualifiers between these 12 teams. The 12 teams have been divided into three groups and now each of these groups will have a final match, which will qualify three teams for the World Cup to be held in Qatar.