Italy failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after a shock defeat to North Macedonia and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho feels responsible for missing from the spot earlier in the qualifying campaign.
The European champions were expected to brush aside North Macedonia in their play-off semi-final encounter, but instead were 1-0 in Palmero.
Aleksandar Trajkovski – who ironically used to play for Palermo – scored the all-important goal in the 92nd-minute of play and it was a worldie from the winger, who plays for Saudi Arabian side Al-Fayha.
Had the Chelsea Midfielder found the back of the net either home or away, Roberto Mancini’s side would have taken top spot and would have qualified for the 2022 World Cup!
That miss prevented Italy from qualifying for the World Cup automatically on the night and the team were then held to a 0-0 draw by Northern Ireland in their final match, which sealed their play-off fate.
After the defeat to North Macedonia, Jorginho admitted the Italy painful exit is difficult to explain.
“It is difficult to explain what happened,” Jorginho told Football Italia.
“It hurts so much. I’ll be honest, I am still incredulous. I don’t think we lacked creativity, as we always dominated matches and created so many chances.
Unfortunately, we were unable to finish them off.”
When asked about the aforementioned errors against the Swiss, the midfielder admitted that his penalty miss from 12 yards against Switzerland will “haunt me for the rest of my life”.
“It hurts when I think about it, because I do still think about it and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. Stepping up there twice and not being able to help your team and your country is something that I will carry with me forever, and it weighs on me”
“Football can be a cruel, cruel game at times.”
It marks the second consecutive World Cup finals the Azzurri will miss, and the first time in their history missing two consecutive World Cup.