Italy Miss Out on Qualification for World Cup 2022 Again

Italy is a country where soccer is more than a heritage; it is a religion and a way of life. Only Brazil has won more World Cups, with five, and they are tied with Germany with four. However, since Germany won the World Cup in 2006, the world has gone apart, at least in terms of FIFA Cups.

Did Italy sell its soul to the devil?

It’s worth recalling that they defeated France in a penalty shootout series in 2006, a game known for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi during a match-fixing incident that cost Juventus relegation to Serie B.

The “Azzurri” appear to have sold their souls to the devil, who has not hesitated to cash in on them, as shown in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and they have been forced to walk through the seven circles of hell ever since.

The four World Cup disappointments

Italy defended their championship in South Africa 2010 in humiliating fashion, placing last in Group F behind Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand, with two draws and a loss for a total of two points.

Despite beating the British in their debut, they were drawn in the “Group of Death,” Group D, against England, Costa Rica, and Uruguay in Brazil 2014. Everything fell apart after that, with shocking consecutive defeats against the Central Americans and South Americans, and they were eliminated from the Round of 16 for the second consecutive World Cup.

If this appeared to be the bottom, what followed was a catastrophe unlike any other in Italian soccer history.

First, there was Russia 2018, when Italy finished second to Spain in Group G of the UEFA qualifiers and had to play a playoff with Sweden for a ticket to the World Cup. The Scandinavians won 1-0 in Solna in the first leg, and the “Azurri” were knocked out of the tournament after a 0-0 draw in Milan in the farewell match of legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

This Thursday was the end; after winning the Euro, a ticket to the World Cup in Qatar 2022 appeared to be set in stone, but everything was complicated first by finishing second to Switzerland in the UEFA qualifiers, then by losing in the semifinals of Path C at home, and finally by being knocked out of the World Cup in Palmermo by a goal by North Macedonia’s Aleksandar Trajkovski in stoppage time.

16 years of Divina Commedia style curse 

In short, it’s been 16 years since Germany 2006, the worst 16 years in Italian soccer history, with the national team twice exiting the World Cup group stage and twice failing to qualify for the world’s greatest soccer event.

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