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Italy have not qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after losing to North Macedonia in the UEFA Path C play-offs, but what other tournaments did the Azzurri fail to qualify for?

North Macedonia stunned Roberto Mancini’s side in March when Aleksandar Trajkovski hit the only goal in the semi-final. The tie capped a disappointing qualifying campaign for Italy, having finished second to Switzerland by two points for the automatic place from Group C.

Only the group stage winners sealed an automatic spot for the first World Cup hosted by a Middle Eastern nation. But one of the three play-off spots for a UEFA member association would not go to North Macedonia, as Portugal claimed a 2-0 win after also edging Turkey.

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The Qatar tournament will be Portugal’s eighth appearance at a World Cup finals when the 22nd edition of the competition starts on November 21. The Selecao are also still chasing a first win with their previous best result being third during the 1966 edition held in England.

Italy, on the other hand, are the joint second-most successful nation with Germany on four World Cup wins to date. Only five-time champions Brazil have enjoyed global success more often, and are also the only nation to have qualified for each edition of the World Cup yet.

Germany follow Brazil for the next-most appearances at a World Cup finals after qualifying for 20 tournaments, including Qatar, so far. Italy, meanwhile, rank third as the Azzurri have now missed out on competing in four, so what other World Cups did they not qualify for…

Italy failed to qualify for first World Cup in 1958 after sitting out 1930 edition

Italy failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 1958, after the Azzurri sat out the inaugural edition in 1930. They chose to skip the tournament Uruguay hosted and won like many European nations due to the lengthy time commitments to travel to South America.

No qualification games also occurred for the 1930 tournament due to only 13 nations from three confederations competing. The number of participating nations rose to 16 from four confederations for the second World Cup in 1934, which Italy hosted and went on to win.

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Italy defended the title in France in 1938 before bowing out of the 1950 and 1954 editions during the group stage at the finals. Sweden in 1958 then marked the Azzurri’s first failure, as Northern Ireland saw that Italy would fail to qualify for a World Cup for the first time.

Russia 2018 first World Cup finals Italy did not qualify for in 60 years

Italy did not fail to qualify for a World Cup finals across the following 12 editions between the 1958 tournament in Sweden and 2018 edition in Russia. They also added titles in 1982 and 2006, while finishing as runners-up in 1970 and 1994, plus third as host nation in 1990.

Global success has alluded the Azzurri since overcoming France 5-3 on penalties in Berlin in 2006, though. The shoot-out affair at the Olympiastadion also remains Italy’s most recent knockout fixture, after exiting the 2010 and 2014 tournaments during the group stage.

Italy then failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after ending Group G of their qualifying campaign second to Spain. A 1-0 loss to would-be quarter-finalists Sweden in the play-offs ensured the Azzurri would not feature in the World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years.

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Spain edged Italy for the automatic qualifying spot from Europe’s Group G by five points, whilst Sweden finished as runners-up in Group A to eventual champions France. Neither Italy nor Sweden will now compete at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with France and Spain.

Sweden failed to secure the automatic spot in Group B for the latest tournament by three points to Spain. The Blagult then beat Czech Republic in the Path B semi-final, but fell to a 2-0 defeat to Poland whilst Italy’s Path C campaign crumbled against North Macedonia.

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