As one of the biggest football nations on the planet, Italy are synonymous with the World Cup.
As four-time winners, they have the joint-second best record in the competition’s history – tied with Germany and behind Brazil who have five trophies.
However, there will be a sad lack of Azzurri blue once the action kicks off in November.
Here’s why Italy won’t be present at Qatar.
To make a long story short, they failed to qualify.
To make a long story, well, long, Italy were drawn alongside Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania in Group C of UEFA’s World Cup qualification.
They ended up finishing second behind Switzerland, who automatically qualified for the World Cup, as four draws from eight games limited them to the play-offs.
It was missed opportunities during their two games with Switzerland which contributed to their heartbreak. In both clashes, Jorginho missed penalties as each match ended in a draw. They also failed to beat Northern Ireland on the final day of group stage qualification, finishing two points behind the Swiss.
Italy were seeded as one of the six-best teams in the play-offs, being placed in Path C in what many thought would end in a final showdown between the Azzurri and Portugal. However, a semi final with North Macedonia in March earlier this year ended up finishing their hopes of reaching Qatar.
After misfiring for 90 minutes, Italy were made to pay as Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the only goal of the game in the 92nd minute to set up a meeting between North Macedonia and Portugal. Fernando Santos’ side sealed qualification thanks to two strikes from Bruno Fernandes in a 2-0 win.
Italy announced themselves as one of the best teams in the world at Euro 2020 when they beat England in the final on penalties at Wembley to be crowned the top side in Europe.
However, that golden generation of players failed in 2022 qualification, while the Azzurri were also absent from the 2018 World Cup in Russia – they lost over two legs to Sweden.