Italy: Giorgio Chiellini admits he and his teammates felt “destroyed and crushed” after North Macedonia knocked them out of the FIFA World Cup play-off… Roberto Mancini laments

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Veteran Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini has admitted that he and his teammates felt “destroyed and crushed” after lowly rated North Macedonia defeated them 1-0 to end their dream of playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

When Italy were paired with North Macedonia, it was expected to be a straight win for the European football giants. But the giants (ranked 6th best in the world) were stunned by North Macedonia that are ranked 67th in the world.

North Macedonia’s defense was able to prevent the reigning European champions from scoring until in the additional second minute of the game when Aleksandar Trajkovski played a low shot from 25 yards which Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma failed to stop.

Afterward, Italy could not do anything to overturn the result. Hence, their journey to Qatar ended stunningly. This means that the reigning European champions have failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup twice in a row.

On the other hand, North Macedonia would hope that they can pull another wonder by defeating Portugal in the play-off final on Tuesday, March 29.

After the 1-0 defeat at the hands of North Macedonia, Giorgio Chiellini who has been playing for Italy’s national team since November 17, 2004, said he and his teammates have given everything to make it to Qatar.

Giorgio Chiellini was part of the Italian team that failed to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup and now 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Giorgio Chiellini was part of the Italian team that failed to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup and now 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The 37-year-old Juventus center-back who replaced Gianluca Mancini in the 90th minute admitted that Italy have paid heavily for the mistakes they have been making since September 2021.

“I am proud of a team that has given everything, it is clear that we are destroyed and crushed, a great void will remain within us,” Giorgio Chiellini said.

“There is a great disappointment, even today we played a good game but we couldn’t score. From September to today we have made mistakes and we have paid for them.”

Marco Verratti of Italy described North Macedonia’s goal as a “real nightmare”

Marco Verratti of Italy described North Macedonia's goal as a "real nightmare"
Marco Verratti.

Italy midfielder, Marco Verratti has described the added time goal North Macedonia used to end their journey to Qatar as a real nightmare.

Verratti said he and his teammates have given everything to qualify for the World Cup, but added that he and his teammates need to ask themselves some questions.

“This group had a great chance at the World Cup, we came from the unbeaten record, so it is difficult to accept what happened tonight,” Verratti said.

“We all know that we have given everything, now surely it is time to ask ourselves some questions.”

Jorginho of Chelsea described the defeat as a huge disappointment

Jorginho missed a spot-kick against Switzerland which could have given Italy an automatic ticket to Qatar.
Jorginho missed a spot-kick against Switzerland which could have given Italy an automatic ticket to Qatar.

Chelsea midfielder, Jorginho who missed two penalties in the first phase of the World Cup qualification series described the defeat to North Macedonia as a disappointment, adding that the defeat hurts.

“It is a huge disappointment,” Jorginho told Rai Sport. “It hurts, it hurts so much.

“We have always created and dominated matches but we have not been able to finish teams off. It is not to blame anyone in particular but it is the reality.

“I don’t know why we haven’t been able to do this, I am also involved in this, and it hurts me to think about it.”

Roberto Mancini of Italy laments

Italy coach Roberto Mancini.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini.

Roberto Mancini was the talk of the town in Italy when he helped his country to win Euro 2020 on July 11, 2021. But afterward, his team failed to earn an automatic ticket to the World Cup and had to go through the play-offs.

Unfortunately, Italy’s dream to feature in the tournament was destroyed by a lowly rated North Macedonia.

The Italian coach said: “I am very sorry for the players I love more now than in July, they are good and thanks to them this team can have a future.

“How the triumph of July was the best thing that has happened to me professionally this is the biggest disappointment. In football sometimes incredible things happen like tonight. We didn’t have to be here but we did everything to win. Talking about the match is now difficult.

“The luck that accompanied us last summer has turned its back on us, because in matches sometimes incredible things happened.

“We dominated the qualifying group, we had two occasions and it was enough to take advantage of one.”

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