As health football nations debate the opportunity to play the World Cup every two years, the Italian champion of Europe punishes himself with at least 12 years of abstinence, and fails to make it to Qatar 2022 after missing out on Russia 2018. This is one side’s response. A contrasting and sad evening, as the Azzurri lost 1-0 to North Macedonia in the play-off semi-finals, the Azzurri highlight the trend that then emerged on July 11, 2021 from Wembley’s victory: after that they could not beat two goals. Sometimes Switzerland and despite the two famous penalties that Jorginho scored, he did not go beyond a draw even with Bulgaria and Northern Ireland.
It is clear that this team with brilliant play and personality no longer exists. Like other coaches, Mancini pledged gratitude to his group: He also succeeded Berzot, who after winning the world championship in 1982 was eliminated by the following Europeans. Mancini’s men of the night broke down dramatically: Barilla’s shadow, perhaps guilty in the opponent’s goal Donnarumma, Insigne imperceptible and immobile: but apart from Ferrati, evident in designs, Berardi, at least racy, eager and sure Bastoni, all the others played under The rhythm of basking in possession of a useless ball recorded. On the other hand, the Macedonians had only a great deal of goodwill: thanks to Trajkovsky’s flash that blinded Donnarumma in the 92nd minute, it was enough. At first, the warmth and enthusiasm of Palermo’s welcome brought the team back into the European Championships last summer. Mancini’s options also contributed to the auspicious revival: as far as possible, or defending in separate pieces, the coach relied on the team that could surprisingly win the continental title: the midfield was that, Barilla Jorginho Verratti, the attacking trident also Berardi – Immobile – Ensen. With Donnarumma’s delay representing continuity, the defensive package saw Florenzi and Emerson, Gianluca Mancini and a Bastonian midfield exit, while Chiellini was sent off to the bench to save himself needlessly to face Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the blue game 4-3-3, Macedonian coach Milevski responded with a formation dedicated to covering spaces in 4-5-1: On the other hand with the best, Elmas and Kostadinov, absent due to elimination, the goal was clear: hope that the night of blue attacks will pass soon , and focus on an impromptu flash or even on extra time and penalties to embody the coup. From the initial clear blue pressure, for half an hour, a continuous hand-to-hand fight arose between the players and the carom of the ball, but not even a shot on goal because the Macedonians with determination and diligence cut off the initiatives and passing lines of Verratti and his teammates. And so the match began only in the 31st minute, when the folly of goalkeeper Dmitrievsky in the delay stage fired a shot into the heart of Berardi’s area, who fired with a weak kick and allowed the first opponent to easily block. The Azzurri imposed the timing but resulted in a right-footed shot from Insigne in the 34th minute (off the field), and a futile protest to an alleged handball in the Macedonian area by Velkovski in the 38th minute. Indeed, it was Milikski’s men who created two chances in closing time: At first, Florenzi’s recovery thwarted Milan Ristovsky’s solitary escape, and in the second the Macedonian striker shot himself from a good position and forced Donnarumma to parade in a dive. In the second half, the plot of the match, between the possession of the blue ball and the Macedonian defense indefinitely, did not change, and in fact the fans found themselves hoping for an interpretation by some European champions. That would have been Berardi between 51 and 53 minutes, and he’s good at giving up two dangerous left-footed shots, one blocked and the other a little off. But he is guilty in the 58th minute, when he finds himself, with a clever touch in the depth by Verratti, kicking alone from the edge of the area and sending the ball very high.
At 64′ Mancini tried a Raspadori move: noticed striker Insigne, who had been imperceptible for a long time. There was no tangible result from the substitution, then Roberto Mancini tried two more baits: Tonali in place of the snuffed out Barella, and Pellegrini to take over the Immobile: raspadori moved to make the center attacker in a three-line with Pellegrini on the left and Berardi on the right. Finally at 85 minutes a good initiative arrived from Emerson, who freed Pellegrini in the area, surprised and only able to turn the assist into additional support, which failed. In the 90′ Gianluca Mancini, suffering from a cramp, gave way to Chiellini, and Berardi was replaced by Joao Pedro. Useless: because Trajkovsky’s right thunderbolt lit up the Sicilian night of the Macedonians.
“It’s hard to explain, there’s a big disappointment, we’re devastated. We lost the scoring but weren’t arrogant. We certainly lacked something, they paid for the mistakes made from September onwards. I’m proud of my teammates. We have to start over. And I hope For Mancini to stay, we want him to do that.” Thus, blue captain Giorgio Chiellini moved to the Rai mics after the defeat against North Macedonia, which excludes Italy from the World Cup for the second time in a row.
“As in July, it was the best thing that happened to me on a personal level, this is my biggest disappointment. Tonight something incredible happened. We shouldn’t have been there. We did everything we could to win the match, but some are like these….” Italy coach Roberto Mancini told Rai microphones after the elimination against Macedonia. “The goal in the 90th minute seems to have been on purpose. I don’t know what to say. I am very sorry for the players. My future? The disappointment is too big to talk about. However, I am sure the team has a great squad.”
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