FootballNEWSWorld Cup qualifiers

Jorginho miss proves costly as Italy miss out on World Cup qualification

Switzerland win Group C after win over Bulgaria

European champions Italy have missed out on the automatic qualification for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after they could only draw 0-0 against Northern Ireland in Belfast in the final match of the group campaign.

The Azzurri needed to win to secure their ticket to the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2014, but a resolute Northern Ireland side managed to contain them, preventing them from scoring even a single goal at Windsor Park.

Italy dominated possession and created chances but were met by a determined Northern Irish backline marshalled by Leicester City’s Johnny Evans for the entire 90 minutes of the encounter.

Italy were left to rue the penalty missed by Jorginho in the 90th minute of their matchday nine clash against Switzerland. With the scores at 1-1, Italy were awarded a penalty which Jorginho blazed over the bar, ensuring that both sides shared the spoils from the match.

In the group’s other game, Switzerland hammered Bulgaria 4-0 to pick up maximum points from their match and emerge victorious from Group C ahead of the favourites and European champions Italy.

After a scoreless first half in Lucerne, Red Bull Salzburg striker Noah Okafor opened the scoring in the 48th minute with a fine header from a cross from Xherdan Shaqiri, who was playing for his country for the 100th time. Ruben Vargas added a second for the Swiss in the 57th minute. Rangers striker Cedric Itten came off the bench to add a third for Switzerland in the 72nd minute before Atalanta star Remo Freuler rounded off the scoring for Switzerland.

Switzerland will join Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Spain, Croatia, England, Serbia, Qatar and Brazil in next winter’s World Cup in Qatar, while Italy will have to navigate their way past two one-legged ties in the playoffs in March for a place in the tournament.

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