European champions Italy have once again missed out of World Cup qualification after a shock 1-0 home loss to minnows North Macedonia in the playoffs semi-finals on Thursday.
Alexsandar Trajkovski was the hero as his 93rd minute strike, sent North Macedonia into the playoff final from path C.Italy have now failed to qualify for back-to-back World Cups for the first time in their history.
Despite playing in front of their fans, Italy could not break down a resolute North Macedonian side.
The four-time World Cup winners edged North Macedonia in every aspects of the game.
They led on number of shots which was 32-4, shots inside the box: 16-0, shots on target: 5-2, possession: 66%-34% and corners: 16-0, but it was North Macedonia who got the most important statistics.
With the game heading for extra-time, Trajkovski arrowed home a long-range right-footer after the Azzurri’s Chelsea midfielder Jorginho missed a header – leaving the whole of Italy in shock.
North Macedonia will now take on Portugal in the playoffs final to determine who qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.