It has been exactly a year to the day that Roberto Mancini and the Italian national team fell to a 1-0 loss at the hands of North Macedonia and subsequently crashed out of the qualification process for the 2022 World Cup. 



Italy finished second in their qualifying group on 16 points, two short of Switzerland at the top, which landed them in the tournament’s playoff rounds. 

The Azzurri were drawn against North Macedonia, who travelled to Palermo on March 24, 2022 to stake their claim at entering the final playoff round and hopefully reaching the world cup finals in Qatar. 

After a tense affair at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, Italy fell behind in dramatic fashion, conceding to a 92nd minute pop-shot from Alexsandar Trajkovski, which was enough to send Italy packing from the World Cup before it had even begun. 

Their elimination also meant that they had failed to qualify for two world cups in succession for the first time in the history of the sport. 

Despite being the reigning European Champions, Italy have not made it past the group stage of the world cup since lifting the trophy in July, 2006. 

It has taken the national side some time to recover from the heartbreaking result against North Macedonia a year ago, with just five wins from their 11 international fixtures since then. 

Despite their mixed fortunes, Mancini’s side have managed to qualify for the semi-finals of the nations league, which will be rewarded with a game against Spain on June 15. 

Almost exactly a year on from the loss to North Macedonia came the first qualification game for the Euro 2024 Championship. 

After a sluggish first half performance, Italy found themselves 2-0 down to Gareth Southgate’s England side on Thursday evening, although a much improved second half display halved the deficit to 2-1 by the end of the night. 

Mancini and his side certainly still have a long way to go before redemption for their failure last year, and will now have to put in a solid shift to make up for their opening round loss against the Three Lions if they are to avoid going through the playoff rounds once again. 

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