Roberto Mancini is facing his most painful defeat in his managerial career following Thursday’s Italy’s 1-0 loss to Macedonia. This loss, for Mancini meant they missed out on their second World Cup in a row.
Before this, Mancini had become a hero for leading the Azzurri back from the horrors of failing to reach the 2018 tournament. In addition to that, he had helped them win the Euro 2020 last summer.
However, after those balmy nights, and after throwing away automatic qualification in November, Italy were dumped out in humiliating fashion. This happened in Palermo in a fraught play-off semi-final.
“Just like July was the best thing to happen to me in my career, this is my biggest disappointment… I’m really sad for my players. The disappointment is too much for me to speak about my future for now,” Roberto Mancini said.
A former Palermo player in Aleksandar Trajkovski stunned the European champion’s low drive in the second minute of stoppage time set up a qualifying final with Portugal in Porto on Tuesday for a chance to be in Qatar in November.
Italy will now have to wait until at least 2026 to see its national team at a World Cup.
However, by that time it will have been 12 years since the Azzurri’s last participation in the world’s biggest football tournament.
The home fans, whose frustration only grew were on their feet hailing an Italy hero seven minutes before the break.
But it was for Alessandro Florenzi stopping Darko Churlinov from giving North Macedonia the lead after bursting through into a great scoring position.
Berardi looked Italy’s biggest threat and went close three times in the space of five second-half minutes. At first, he hit a weak shot at Dimitrievski before curling another one just wide seconds later.
But just as the match looked to be heading into a tense extra-time Trajkovski popped up to hit a perfect low strike past Gianluigi Donnarumma and cause another earthquake for Italian football.
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