Giorgio Chiellini defended his Italy teammates after the shock World Cup play-off failure to North Macedonia. ‘You can’t say we were presumptuous. We are distraught.’
The Azzurri failed to even reach the play-offs final, having wasted 32 attempts on goal, whereas North Macedonia scored one of only four, with Aleksandar Trajkovski into the bottom corner in stoppages.
Italy won the European Championship, yet failed to qualify for the second consecutive World Cup.
“It’s difficult to explain, I think we again had a good game and just didn’t score the goal. I don’t think anyone can say we were presumptuous,” Chiellini told RAI Sport.
“We made mistakes from September to now and paid for them. I am proud of my teammates and this group, clearly we are distraught, we have to get restart.
“A large void is now within us and we hope it can give us the strength to go forward in future. I hope it will still be with this coach, who has given so much to the Nazionale.
“Hopefully we can then play in the World Cup in four years’ time, having unfortunately missed out.”
How have Italy been so ineffective upfront, not just this evening, but throughout the qualifying campaign after EURO 2020?
“It’s not like we didn’t create the chances, we had 32 shots on goal. We barely risked anything at the back either.
“Maybe it’s difficult for us to read the situation from so close, but the lads gave their all and we hoped for a different result.”
Chiellini was asked if this was his final game in the Italy jersey.
“I think we need to play the next, then we’ll see. This is not the time for this.”
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) March 24, 2022