Marco Verratti was distraught after Italy lost the World Cup play-off semi-final to North Macedonia. ‘It’s a nightmare. We had the players to challenge for the tournament.’
The Azzurri went from winning UEFA EURO 2020 last summer to failing to even qualify for the final of the play-offs, beaten 1-0 at home in stoppages by North Macedonia.
“It is difficult to understand. I think we dominated this match and we should’ve won. We had to win,” Verratti told RAI Sport.
“We had to score early and get it closed off, because we were superior, we could’ve done better. This is football, it is fundamental to be clinical and ruthless. It’s just so difficult to explain. It was a nightmare.”
Verratti has already suffered one devastating blow this month with Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, so seemed shaken to the core.
He was also part of the squad that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, which until now was the only time other than 1958 without Italy at the main stage.
“Looking around the locker room, we had the players to challenge for the tournament itself, yet here we are talking about a disaster. It’s so tough to go from hero to zero.
“We experienced special times together and I will always be proud of my teammates. This is football, you need to score goals. We didn’t manage it, but we gave everything we had. It wasn’t enough.
“We have to ask ourselves questions now. There’s some bad luck, but you also need to make your own luck.”