The 2022 FIFA World Cup is an unsual one for a variety of reasons.
Being played in the Middle East for the first time, the tournament is taking place later in the year than usual, due to the extreme heat in Qatar.
And one of the most successful World Cup teams of all time, Italy, also won’t be in attendance just to make things even more interesting.
The Azzurri have won the tournament four times before but won’t even be playing at the 2022 World Cup, despite being the current holders of the European Championship.
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Why aren’t Italy at World Cup 2022?
For the second straight World Cup, Italy simply failed to qualify for the tournament.
The reigning Euro champions finished second in their World Cup qualifying group to Switzerland after drawing their final two games.
Roberto Mancini’s side were plunged into the play-offs as a result and fell at the first hurdle as they suffered a shock 1-0 loss to North Macedonia in Italy.
The defeat sent shockwaves across football with Italy never previously losing a World Cup qualifying on home soil.
The Azzurri dominated the match against North Macedonia, taking 32 shots to five, but conceded a fatal goal in injury-time.
Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup came just nine months after they won Euro 2020, beating England in a penalty shootout at Wembley in the summer of 2021.
Remarkably, Azzurri also didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing 1-0 to Sweden in the playoffs.
“It hurts when I think about it, because I do still think about it and it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Italy star Jorginho said in March about failing to qualify for the 2022 tournament.
“Stepping up there twice and not being able to help your team and your country is something that I will carry with me forever, and it weighs on me.”
Italy World Cup history
Italy are the joint-second most successful team in World Cup history.
The Azzurri have won the tournament four times with only Brazil lifting the title on more occasions.
Their last triumph came in 2006 when they beat France on penalties in the final.
Since then, Italy have struggled on the big stage, having been knocked out in the group stages in 2010 and 2014 before failing to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
|1930||Did not enter|
|1958||Did not qualify|
|1986||Round of 16|
|2002||Round of 16|
|2018||Did not qualify|
|2022||Did not qualify|
Which other teams failed to qualify for World Cup 2022?
Italy are the highest-ranked and most notable nation missing from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but there are other surprise absentees.
African giants Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt all failed to qualify for the tournament, meaning players like Mohamed Salah and Riyah Mahrez won’t be playing.
One of the biggest stars right now also won’t be at this World Cup with Erling Haaland’s Norway also falling short of qualifying.
Russia, the 2018 World Cup hosts, were banned for the tournament in Qatar with their qualification campaign cut short in the play-off stage as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
With Ecuador booking their place in Qatar, some more recognised South American nations like Colombia and Chile missed out.