NATIONS - Italy drops into WC playoffs after goalless draw with N. Ireland

15.11.2021 23:20 of D.B. TransferMarketWeb   see readings
NATIONS - Italy drops into WC playoffs after goalless draw with N. Ireland
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In just a few months, Italy may go from winning Euro 2020 to missing the 2022 World Cup.

After a 0-0 stalemate in Northern Ireland, the Azzurri were unable to secure a direct ticket to next year's World Cup, and were forced to enter the playoffs on Monday.

Switzerland defeated Bulgaria 4-0 to finish first in Group C and earn an automatic berth in Qatar.

Northern Ireland displayed grit in the second half after standing steady against an avalanche of Italian possession in the first. This allowed them to pose a threat to Mancini's team.

The shock victory was not to be, but it did mean Northern Ireland heeded their manager's appeal and completed a difficult and transitional season on a high note.

Italy notoriously failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after losing in the playoff round to Sweden.