Italy was held back by Northern Ireland by 0-0 in a crucial World Cup qualifier clash at Windsor Park and now have to go through the playoffs route to secure a place for the World Cup 2022.
While Roberto Mancini’s side started the game passively and never managed to showcase their free-flowing football throughout the game against a well organized Ian Baraclough’s side.
Coming into this game, Italy had to win the game to qualify for next year’s World Cup. However, they failed to do their job, and on the other hand, Switzerland, the other competitor in this group had to win their game and they had to win by two goals more than the Azzurri’s results. In the end, the Swiss defeated Bulgaria by 4-0 and qualified for the Qatar World Cup next year.
Northern Ireland 0-0 Italy:
Since becoming the European Champions, Italy haven’t been able to replicate that performance so far. While they failed to showcase their high-pressing game against Baraclough’s side and Mancini will be hoping that his team can perform at their highest level in the playoffs in March. Otherwise, the four-time World Champions will miss out to qualify in back to back World championships.
After the game speaking on the club’s website, Mancini said that he is optimistic about qualifying for the World Cup 2022 and hopefully can win the competition. He said:
“I continue to believe that we’re a great team, we’re just going through a difficult spell. The lads are strong and need to rediscover a sense of calm with March in mind. We’ve still got an opportunity and we’ll try to make the most of it. We’ll book our place at the World Cup via the play-offs in March and hopefully win the tournament too.”
Speaking on the official website Switzerland captain Xherdan Shaqiri has expressed his delight after qualifying for the World Cup 2022 and praised his colleagues for this result. He said:
“It’s a dream to make 100 caps for Switzerland, it’s very special. I have to compliment the team for what they did in this campaign and how they played. They did always believed in it, now we’ve made it, that was our goal, now we’re all happy and proud. I also have to compliment Muri, because it wasn’t easy to follow in Vlado’s footsteps.”
The upcoming fixtures for both teams:
After the November International break, the next break will be in March and Italy will have to wait to know about their opponents for the playoffs.