The Italian national team face the spectre of not qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for the second consecutive edition, after their goalless draw against Northern Ireland on Monday, in the eighth round of European qualifiers.
In the same group, Switzerland beat Bulgaria 4-0 to qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup, after reaching the 18th point at the top of Group C.
Italy failed to secure automatic qualification for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in 60 years. Italy finished second in Group G in the European qualifiers for the World Cup Russia 2018, behind Spain, who qualified directly for the World Cup at the time. Italy then lost to Sweden in a two-leg playoff. The Azzurri now fear the repetition of this scenario in March next year.