Italy VS North Macedonia Live Reddit Score 24/03/2022
As if failing to make the 2018 World Cup was not painful enough for Italy, a second successive campaign watching on from home with the European trophy already in the cabinet would be nothing short of disastrous for Roberto Mancini and co.
A number of autumnal wobbles contributed to the Azzurri finishing second in Group C – two points behind leaders and fellow unbeaten side Switzerland – as Mancini’s side could only post one win from their final five group matches, drawing four of them.
While the Euro 2020 winners were being held to a goalless stalemate by Northern Ireland on the final matchday, Switzerland put four unanswered goals past Bulgaria to force Italy to settle for a spot in the playoffs, and their path to the finals is far from straightforward.
The Azzurri have never failed to make it to the World Cup twice on the bounce – quickly qualifying in 1962 after missing out on a place in the 1958 edition – and they are one of two playoff sides to navigate their group phase unbeaten, the other being Ukraine.
A tally of just two wins from their last seven in all competitions is certainly an unfamiliar sight from this Italy crop, but they have astonishingly never lost a World Cup Qualifying match on their own turf and enter Thursday’s game as firm favourites to get the job done.
Fresh from qualifying for their first-ever major tournament as an independent nation at Euro 2020, North Macedonia are in with a real shot of participating in their maiden World Cup campaign after finishing as the best of the rest in Group J.
Germany ran away with it as expected – but not before being shocked 2-1 by Blagoja Milevski’s side back in March – and a pair of dominant victories over Armenia and Iceland in their final two group games saw North Macedonia pip Romania to second place by just one point.
Failing to take a single point back home from their Euro 2020 campaign has not led to a downturn in spirit from the North Macedonians, who have lost just one of their last seven in World Cup Qualifying and have kept an eye-catching four clean sheets in that stretch.
Taking 10 points from the last 12 on offer on the road in World Cup Qualifying is also cause for optimism for North Macedonia – who have amassed 13 goals in that run – and not since November 2016 have the world’s 67th-ranked nation failed to find the back of the net away from home in qualification.
North Macedonia’s only previous visit to Italian turf saw them hold the Azzurri to a 1-1 draw during qualification for the 2018 World Cup, but they previously lost 3-2 to the reigning continental champions on their own turf as they endeavour to inflict more World Cup misery on Mancini’s men.
Italy will be aiming to book their ticket to the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers playoff final when they take on North Macedonia on Thursday. The footballing world is gearing up for the latest international break of 2022, with few of the European nations set to battle it out for a place in the finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
UEFA Euro 2020 champions Italy are among the nations vying for a spot after finishing second in their group behind Switzerland. The underwhelming qualifying campaign has now forced Roberto Mancini’s men to battle it out for their participation in the coveted competition.
Italy start their playoff campaign on Thursday with a game against North Macedonia at Renzo Barbera Stadium in Palermo. Despite the home advantage, it is a tricky game for the Gli Azzurri, who had dropped points against the likes of Northern Ireland and Bulgaria during their group qualifying stage.
Tactically, Italy could line up with a 4-3-3 setup that Mancini has often preferred during his reign. The centre-back slots could automatically go to the seniormost duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, although Mancini may entertain the idea of starting with a far younger alternative in Alessandro Bastoni.
Alessandro Florenzi and Emerson Palmieri remain the two favourites to occupy the full-back slots. As for the midfield, Mancini should retain his faith in Jorginho, who could hold the fort in the number six slot, with Nicolo Barella and Marco Verratti offering creativity in the middle of the park.
Mancini has no shortage of alternatives, though, with Manuel Locatelli pushing for a place in the starting eleven, perhaps at the expense of Jorginho, while Sandro Tonali could be another exciting option.
The Italy head coach has a selection dilemma in the attack. The proven attackers have all struggled with form, while the in-form ones lack experience. But with Italy traditionally being a conservative side, we can expect Ciro Immobile to be deployed upfront, ahead of Gianluca Scamacca, whereas Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Berardi remain the favourites to occupy the wide attacking roles.