Federico Bernardeschi explains why Italy should be at the World Cup despite not qualifying
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Federico Bernardeschi has claimed Italy should have automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup after winning the most recent Euros.
The Azzurri have not participated in the last two World Cups, having failed to qualify for the Qatar showpiece after losing to North Macedonia in a dramatic play-off that featured a 92nd minute winner.
Italy have won the World Cup four times, most recently in 2006, and are one of the most iconic and successful nations when it comes to football.
Roberto Mancini's side beat England on penalties at Wembley to win Euro 2020 and Bernardeschi believes that triumph should have guaranteed a spot for the World Cup.
“It hurts because I think we deserved it, the four winning nations of the various continental tournaments should go there by right,`" he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, as per Football Italia.
"Just think that I’m a European champion and I’ve never played in a World Cup, absurd.”
Bernadeschi's comments echo the words from the legendary Roberto Baggio, who said it is "shameful" and "madness" that Italy were not given a bye.
With no World Cup games to contest, Italy played friendlies against Albania and Austria this month - winning the first game before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat in their second outing.
Bernardeschi left Juventus in the summer and joined MLS side Toronto FC on a free transfer, penning a four-year deal.
He's enjoying life in Canada, scoring eight goals and registering three assists in 14 appearances - and the ex Fiorentina winger has confirmed he is supporting John Herdman's side in the World Cup.
He added: “That’s right and I’m happy with the way they played on their debut in Qatar because then everyone could see how high the level of American football has risen. And with the 2026 World Cup in North America in the next two to three years the growth will be exponential.”