Italy succumbed to a solitary strike at the death against North Macedonia in the first round of qualifying play-off matches, ending their hopes of a first World Cup appearance since the FIFA World Cup 2014 held in Brazil, where they were dumped out of the group stages.
Lega Serie A President Lorenzo Casini has hit out at the failure, citing that it is a result of a disappointing system that should lead everyone involved to reflect heavily on the national team’s failure.
“Failure to qualify for the final phase of the World Cup is a failure for the whole of Italian football, which must lead everyone to serious reflection and a profound change in our system. Right now, I am only experiencing the huge disappointment of all the fans,” said Casini. (via FCInterNews)
The Azzurri were dumped out of the play-off rounds for the second successive time, after losing 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden last time in November 2017.
Casini continued his comments, pointing out the fact that young children will be immensely affected by the national team’s setbacks on the grandest stage of all.
“I am very sorry when I think of the girls and boys who are still waiting to see Italy at the World Cup and who must be able to continue growing in the blue dream. The players have always responded positively to the call of the national team and always will, also because it is the sporting commitment that unites the country and should always make us overcome every belonging and every division. The national team belongs to everyone,” he ended.
This is the first time that reigning European champions have failed to qualify for the World Cup since Greece (EURO 2004) failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup held in Germany.