Soccer fans were already savoring the do-or-die duel between Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal for one of the last tickets to Qatar 2022 for UEFA. However, the already heroic North Macedonia got in the way and knocked Italy out of the upcoming World Cup much earlier than expected.
When talking about the World Cups, it is impossible not to mention the Azzurra. It is undoubtedly one of the stellar teams of this tournament, which has written memorable chapters, only matched by other soccer legends such as Brazil and Germany.
Italy was the first team in the history of the World Cup to become a two-time Champion, when, with controversy due to the social and political context in which their victories took place, they won the 1934 and 1938 editions. Subsequently, it added two more World Cup trophies to its trophy cabinet, those of Spain 1982 and Germany 2006, to become one of the top three winners of FIFA's greatest event.
World Cups in which Italy has not participated
Taking into account the upcoming Qatar 2022, this makes 22 editions of the FIFA World Cup so far. Of these, only on four occasions, Italy has not participated. Only Brazil, which has taken part in all of them, and Germany, with 18 appearances, surpass them in the number of World Cups played.
The first World Cup the Azzura missed was also the first to be held, Uruguay 1930. Like many of the star countries of the time such as England, the Italians decided not to take part in a tournament that was wrongly expected to have no future.
Italy's first major disappointment came in the run-up to Sweden 1958 when a 2-1 loss to Northern Ireland on the last game of the European World Cup Qualifiers prevented them from participating. It took sixty years for something similar to happen in world soccer.
In the 2018 European Qualifiers, Italy had to attend the Playoffs to seek its ticket to Russia. However, a 1-0 loss to Sweden made them relive the tragic episode of 1958. This event even led to the then president of the Italian Football Federation, Carlo Tavecchio, resigning from his position.
Then, for the first time in its history, after losing dramatically with a last-minute goal scored by striker Aleksandar Trajkovski against North Macedonia at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo, Italy failed to qualify for two World Cups in a row. Qatar 2022 will undoubtedly miss the four-time world champions.