North Macedonia stun Italy at the World Cup play-offs

North Macedonia stun Italy at the World Cup play-offs

North Macedonia stun Italy as the Azzurri fail to qualify for the World Cup again after losing 1-0. Italy were frustrated by a phenomenal defensive performance from North Macedonia for 90 minutes. Trajkovski managed to score a late goal in injury time which gave Italy no chance to reply. They will miss the World Cup for the second time in a row, which is a massive blow to Italian football.

Bastoni and Barella started for Italy and had a decent game. Barella, however, looked out of touch because of minimal rest. Hence Mancini decided to sub him off in the second half for the Milan midfielder Tonali. Italy heavily dominated possession as one would expect and created several chances. The Azzurri had 32 shots in total, but only 5 of them were on target.

North Macedonia stun Italy
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North Macedonia stun Italy as the Azzurri will miss World Cup once again

Barella had a chance in the first half as he made a forward run, but his shot went wide. Bastoni helped Italy in winning the aerial duels as North Macedonia were looking to cross to Trajkovski. Immobile had plenty of chances throughout the match, but the Lazio striker could not find the back of the net. Verratti was the best player on the pitch as he provided 8 key passes in the match and completed 6 dribbles. Berardi had a brilliant chance in the 30th minute as Dimitrievski’s pass went straight to him. But he could not put enough power behind that shot as the keeper managed to save it in time.

Trajkovski’s strike in the injury time made sure that North Macedonia goes to the next stage as they will face Portugal. It comes as a big surprise for Italy as they managed to win the Euros last year but could not qualify for the Qatar World Cup.

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