- After being left out of Russia-2018, the current European champion will not be in Qatar-2022 either, losing against all odds against North Macedonia in Palermo
- The ‘Azzurra’ dominated completely, they had 30 chances, but they lacked success again, while the rival scored a great goal in added time with his second well-directed shot
- This was Trajkovski’s goal that left Italy out of the World Cup
It was just the second shot between the three sticks of Macedonia, while Italy tried its luck up to 30 times, but is out of a World Cup again due to its lack of success on goal. The team coached by Blagoja Milevski will play the move to Qatar against Portugal on Tuesday at the Do Dragao in Porto.
Italy completely dominated the match with the support of the 32,000 fans that packed the Renzo Barbera in Palermo. Led by an excellent Marco Verratti in distribution, the ‘Azzurra’ moved the ball well, touching it over and over again with dynamism and opening the game to the wingers, but once again they lacked the goal, a decisive ‘9’, as it was clear in their last two group stage games (1-1 against Switzerland and 0-0 against Northern Ireland) that cost them the lead and direct classification.
Immobile was not enough
Then Ciro Immobile was discharged. Roberto Mancini had today the Serie A ‘capocannoniere’ supported in an attack by Domenico Berardi and Lorenzo Insigne, but he was not successful and was substituted.
In midfield, along with Verratti, Nicoló Barell and Jorginho played, while in defense the coach improvised with Alessandro Florenzi and Emerson Palmieri on the wings and Alessandro Bastoni and Gianluca Mancini as central defenders due to the losses of Leonardo Bonucci, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, and Leonardo Spinazzola, while Giorgio Chiellini, fresh from injury, stayed on the bench.
A Macedonia well withdrawn and supportive in defense
Italy, despite its dominance, had a hard time creating clear chances in the first half against a well-retracted North Macedonia and applied defensively with help and intensity.
Italy’s first great opportunity came after half an hour and was caused by an error in the delivery with the foot of the goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski, who, being outside his goal, handed the ball to Berardi, but he did not take advantage of the gift and did not adjust his auction giving time to Rayo’s goal to amend his mistake.
As the break approached, Italy intensified its rhythm and threw itself into it, although without concretion in the final meters. Immobile had two chances and Insigne had two, but North Macedonia continued to hold out and, with Enis Bardhi (Levante) liaising, even created danger on their only two approaches. The visitors’ first shot came in the 45th minute with a shot by Aleksandar Trajkovski that Gianluigi Donnarumma blocked.
In the second half, Berardi monopolized Italy’s scoring options. Six had in the first 20 minutes highlighting a shot that went slightly high after controlling and turning around in a good movement (63′).
Immobile, substituted, and final blow
Mancini relieved Immobile in the 77th minute, bringing on Lorenzo Pellegrini in an attempt to reorganize the already desperate attack and overcome the inspired Dimitrievski once and for all. Already in ’87, he opted for Joao Pedro (Cagliari), who made his international debut at the age of 30, instead of the tired Berardi.
Italy already had extra time but North Macedonia avoided it with their second shot between three posts in the entire match. Dimitrievski took a goal kick, the ball fell to Trajkovski, who from outside the box unleashed a sensational whiplash that hit the post past Donnarumma. Italy, current European champion, is out of the World Cup for the second time in a row. Eight months after achieving glory, the ‘Azzurra’ suffer another football tragedy. Seeing is believing.