Italy, the reigning champions of Europe, have incredibly been bounced out of World Cup qualifying after losing a qualifier at home to North Macedonia tonight in Palermo.
Former Palermo player Alexsander Trajkovski scored an incredible 92nd minute winner to shock Roberto Mancini and Italy.
Italy's efforts to find an equaliser were thwarted and it means Italy will miss the World Cup for the second consecutive tournament.
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 24, 2022
There were absolutely ecstatic scenes amongst the North Macedonian squad and we imagine there's jubilation in Skopje tonight and beyond.
Twitter went nuts.
Looks like Italy have had a North Macedonia.
— Oisin Langan (@oisinlangan) March 24, 2022
After missing on Russia 2018, Italy are out of the World Cup 2022. What an incredible disaster. 🇮🇹 #Italy
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 24, 2022
For Italy to go from being European Champions to not even making the final playoff stage is an almighty and devastating fall.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 24, 2022
Oh so now Italy are tired
— Max Rushden 💙 (@maxrushden) March 24, 2022
Despite a lot of injuries, including the loss of 3/4s of his starting defense, Mancini sounded confident during the week that Italy would reach the World Cup.
“We should not have been here. I have talented players who built a victory out of nothing that nobody believed in. That does not guarantee you getting to the World Cup, but it’s a solid base.”
North Macedona must now travel to Lisbon on Tuesday to play Portugal, who beat Turkey 3-1 tonight. That match seemed headed for extra time but Yilmaz missed a penalty late in the second half.
Wales beat Austrian 2-1 in Cardiff and they will play the winners of Scotland v Ukraine, who will not meet each other until June.
Poland will play the winners of Sweden v Czech Repubic, which finished 0-0 in regular time.