Italian coach Roberto Mancini, is confident that the Azzurri who missed out on automatic qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, will book a ticket to the gulf nation through the play-offs.
The 2021 European champions, who failed to qualify in 2018, were held to a goalless draw by brilliant Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.
With the uninspiring stalemate at Windsor Park and Switzerland’s 4-0 win in Lucerne, Italy give up first place and Group C’s sole guaranteed World Cup spot. Condemning the four-time world champions to the play-offs scheduled for March 2022.
“We will play in the play-offs, we will be ready. At the moment, we have a lot of difficulty scoring goals. It’s a shame, we should have completed the qualification earlier. We missed two penalties against Switzerland, (home and away).” Mancini told Ria.
“I am very confident for the play-offs. Maybe we will even win the World Cup (in Qatar)”, he added.
The Qatar FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place between Monday 21 November and Sunday 18 December 2022. It will be the last to feature 32 teams with that number being expanded to 48 for the 2026 World Cup which will be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
How the Europe World Cup playoffs works
Twelve European nations, will be split into three brackets of four teams each. The 10 second-place group finishers and two teams from the UEFA Nations League standings. The three brackets will each have a single World Cup ticket on the line.
The four teams in each of the three brackets will first play a single elimination semifinal on the 24th and 25th of March 2022, followed by a single-elimination playoff final on the 28th and 29th of same month. Only the winner of the final will make it to Qatar.