Soccer-Why is Italy not in the World Cup 2022?


(Reuters) - Four-times champions Italy are not in this year's World Cup in Qatar, marking the second time in a row that the 'Azzurri' will miss the tournament. Here's what you need to know about the European Champions' failure to qualify:

HOW DID ITALY'S WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION CAMPAIGN UNFOLD?

* Italy were drawn in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualification round along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

* The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years earlier.

* They started with three consecutive wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for the European Championships last year.

* After winning the tournament, they drew twice in a row to Bulgaria and Switzerland, before claiming a 5-0 win at home against Lithuania.

* With two games left, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave both teams on equal points before the last round.

* Four months after their Euro 2020 success, Italy's 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after a win over Bulgaria, sending Mancini's side to the playoffs.

HOW DID THE WORLD CUP PLAYOFFS UNFOLD FOR ITALY?

* Italy were on course to meet Portugal in the deciding playoff tie, but they missed out on the World Cup finals after losing 1-0 at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski's last-gasp strike.

* North Macedonia progressed to the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who claimed the World Cup spot.

WHY DID ITALY NOT QUALIFY FOR THE WORLD CUP IN 2018?

* Italy finished in second place of Group G in the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

* They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw in 2017 by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win.

* The Italians, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, saw Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declare their retirement from the national team right after the game.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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