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Manuel Locatelli tackles Josh Magennis
Manuel Locatelli tackles Josh Magennis

After a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland on Monday, and with Switzerland’s 4-0 thrashing of Bulgaria. The Azzurri team loses group C leadership and with it, a direct ticket to Qatar 2022. The Euro 2020 victors will have to take the long path to the tournament in Qatar next year. By participating in the play-offs.

Northern Ireland held off Italy in a tight first half in which the visitors controlled 66% possession and five shots on goal.

Italy drop into the World Cup play-offs after a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland
Italy drop into the World Cup play-offs after a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland

Giovanni Di Lorenzo had the finest chance in the eighth minute. He grabbed onto a wonderful lofted reverse ball from Lorenzo Insigne at the back post, but Bailey Peacock-Farrell acrobatically turned his effort over the bar.
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Northern Ireland almost scored in the 48th minute when Jamal Lewis squared the ball back for George Saville, but his close-range shot was superbly saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Italy continued to have the majority of the possession, but they failed to create a clear-cut scoring opportunity. In the 80th minute, Emerson’s optimistic driven strike sailed wide, while Stuart Dallas’ venomous effort from outside the box sailed past the post at the other end.

Italy will have to go through the play-offs to qualify for the tournament in Qatar next year, but Italy coach Mancini feels they should not be written out as contenders for the world title.

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Northern Ireland vs Italy 0-0 highlights 2022 World Cup Qualifiers