In the summer of 2021, Italy won the European championship on penalties against England at EURO 2020. Everything looked bright as Italy seemed to be back as global football power after they missed the World Cup 2018 in Russia.
In the spring of 2022, Italy stunned the football world and will be watching the FIFA World Cup 2022 on TV.
Italy has not qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar after losing to North Macedonia in the semi-final game of the play-offs. North Macedonia stunned Italy in March after Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the only goal. That ended a disappointing qualifying campaign for Italy. The qualification to the World Cup 2020, Italy started in relatively easy Group C with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. Still, after two draws against Switzerland and a goalless draw against North Ireland, Italy finished second behind Switzerland. That second place sent Italy to the play-offs and the rest is well known.
All neutral football fans will be missing watching Italy in Qatar, if not for anything else but their tradition as one of the greatest football nations in history. Italy is alongside Germany, is the second most successful nation. They won four Word Cups (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006), and only Brazil had more success, winning the World Cup five times. On the other hand, Italy missed only four Word Cups so far (1930, 1958, 2018, and now 2022) ranking them third behind again Brazil and Germany.
Failing to qualify for the World Cup 2018 in Russia was embarrassing, but missing out on a second consecutive Word Cup is shocking. There’s one good news for Italy, this will be the last Word Cup with 32 teams because in 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico number of teams will increase to 48.