The lack of Jorginho proves costly as Italy loses World Cup qualification

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Champions of Europe Italy lost automatic qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after drawing 0-0 against Northern Ireland in Belfast in the last match of the group campaign.

The Azzurri needed to win to secure their FIFA World Cup ticket for the first time since 2014, but a resolute Northern Ireland team 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 defense fielded by Johnny Evans of Leicester City for the full 90 minutes of the match.

Italy was left to regret the penalty missed by Jorginho in the 90th minute of the ninth matchday against Switzerland. With the score of 1-1, Italy were awarded a penalty that Jorginho inflicted on the crossbar, ensuring that both sides shared the spoils of the match.

In the other group game, Swiss beat Bulgaria 4-0 to collect maximum points from their game and emerge victorious from Group C ahead of European favorites and champions Italy.

After a goalless 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 national team for the hundredth time. Ruben Vargas added a second for the Swiss in the 57th minute. Rangers forward Cedric Itten came off the bench to add a third for Switzerland in the 72nd minute before Atalanta star Remo Freuler completed 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 fight their way into two one-leg matches in the playoffs of March for a place in the tournament.

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