There's a very small chance Italy can still make the 2022 World Cup - but it all hinges on Iran's status in the competition.
Reigning European champions Italy were stunned in their play-off semi-final against North Macedonia last week and will miss the World Cup for the second time in a row.
That is, unless Sport Mediaset, Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia's theory comes to pass.
Roberto Mancini's side won't be putting all their stock in it but it's worth keeping an eye on.
Iran stopped 2000 women from entering the stadium for their World Cup qualifier against Lebanon on Tuesday. It isn't the first time it's happened and FIFA warned the nation against doing it again back in 2019.
According to Football-Italia, member of the Iranian Football Federation Mehrdad Seradschi posted on Twitter he'd heard 'worrying news from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation' regarding the situation.
One of the more extreme punishments could be removing Iran from the World Cup altogether. Dragan Skocic's side qualified top of AFC Third Round group to book their place in Qatar.
Should that happen FIFA could promote the country with the highest co-efficient in the world rankings in their place.
That team would be Italy given their win at last summer's European Championship.
No team in history has ever been kicked out of the World Cup after qualification so it'd be an unprecedented move.
Italy were expected to square off with Portugal in a heated play-off final earlier this week.
However, Aleksandar Trajkovski's dramatic winner sent North Macedonia through to face Cristiano Ronaldo and company.
Portugal would run out comfortable 2-0 winners over North Macedonia thanks to a double from Bruno Fernandes.
Mancini was asked about his future as Italy boss following their shock elimination and he insisted he's still committed to the national side.
"I have talked with the (FIGC) president, we agree on everything. I'm glad, we'll talk again in the next few days," the 57-year-old said.
"I feel like staying because I am still young. I wanted to win one European Championship and one World Cup, so for the World Cup I'll have to wait a little."
Italy bounced back from their loss with a 3-2 win over Turkey on Tuesday.
A goal from Bryan Cristante and brace from Giacomo Raspadori was enough to seal victory.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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