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Italy legend Roberto Baggio has said that it is ‘shameful’ that his country were not guaranteed a place in the World Cup after their Euro 2020 triumph.
Roberto Mancini’s side tasted glory last summer at Wembley as they beat England via penalties to claim the Euro 2020 trophy.
Despite winning the Euro, the Azzurri’s form has been worrying, having only won three matches from 10 since July 2021.
Their World Cup dream ended in a horrendous nightmare, after dominating their play off match against North Macedonia where they had 66% ball possession and had 32 attempts towards goal, it wasn’t enough.
Aleksandar Trajkovski picked up a loose ball in the 92nd minute and drove towards the Italian goal, firing in expertly to send the world of football into utter disbelief. The European champions will not appear at the 2022 World Cup.
NORTH MACEDONIA IN THE 92ND MINUTE! 🇲🇰— GOAL (@goal) March 24, 2022
ITALY AREN'T GOING TO THE 2022 WORLD CUP 🤯 pic.twitter.com/S0N7rsI0R4
Italy will now miss their second consecutive World Cup finals, having missed the previous one held in Russia in 2018.
Now Italy legend, Baggio, appearing at an event in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport has questioned why the European champions were not automatically given a spot in the tournament.
He said: “Italy won the European Championship, I think it’s shameful, it’s madness that they are not given an automatic berth to the World Cup for that.”
November 2017: Italy fail to qualify for 2018 World Cup ❌— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 1, 2022
July 2021: Italy win Euro 2020 🏆
March 2022: Italy fail to qualify for 2022 World Cup ❌
Can the Italian revive his nation's fortunes once again? 🇮🇹
Read ⬇️ | #BBCFootball
“Anyone can lose one game against anyone else on a bad day, but these lads deserve some sort of reward for what they achieved, don’t they? If I had been in that squad, I would’ve struggled to accept it.”
Baggio always believes that missing out in the World Cup has affected Mancini and his players, they were completely outclassed by Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the Finalissima at Wembley, Messi’s side came out convincing 3-0 winners.
Baggio said: “I think Italy suffered psychological after effects from the World Cup elimination. You can see it’s a psychological issue.”
“We saw [in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina], you just cannot compare the calm and confidence of the Argentina players to our current state of mind.”
“Roberto Mancini did something extraordinary, he must be respected and allowed to continue working the way he has done. We have young talents who are not given room to play in Serie A and that is a well known problem.”
They will have to try again to reach the next World Cup in 2026.