Italy have been eliminated from World Cup contention after a shocking 1-0 loss to North Macedonia at the Stadio Renzo Barbera on Thursday night.
With a low shot from outside the box, Aleksandar Trajkovski delivered the game-winning goal.
Italy entered the qualifying play-off semi-final showdown as strong contenders, but were the victims of a massive upset that will be remembered for a long time.
North Macedonia’s Aleksandar Trajkovski scored a heartbreaking stoppage-time winner, leaving Mancini and his team stunned.
NORTH MACEDONIA!!! ONE OF THE GREAT UPSETS OF ALL TIME ?
AS IT STANDS, ITALY ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP! pic.twitter.com/DBRBcUhZC5
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 24, 2022
North Macedonia hardly had a sight of goal over the previous 90 minutes, only to shock the home side with the winner.
The European Champions controlled from beginning to the end against North Macedonia, registering 32 shots to four for their opponents, but were only able to hit the target five times.
Before Trajkovski delivered the shocker of their life, the hosts lost a couple of clear scoring chances, but at the end, Mancini defended his men.
The Azzurri coach strongly believe in his team and does not feel the final outcome really reflects their efforts.
FT: Italy 0-1 North Macedonia ?
Italy miss back to back World Cups!
What a night for the visitors ?? pic.twitter.com/Jw0CvYBJtm
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 24, 2022
?”I think that if last July was the best thing I had professionally, I think this is the biggest disappointment. You can’t say anything. This is football. Sometimes incredible things happen and tonight it’s It happened. Maybe we shouldn’t have been there, but we did everything to try to win. It is difficult to comment on this match, with a goal that arrived after the 90th minute without conceding anything else. This is a group with great players and I’m sorry because we didn’t deserve it. Now it is too early to talk about the future, we still have to digest this defeat.” – Mancini
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