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European champions, Italy on Monday failed to book automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Italy will now settle for a place in the World Cup play-offs having only managed a 0-0 draw at Northern Ireland on Monday night.
All they needed in the night was a win to have a chance of finishing above Switzerland in the automatic qualification spots.
Italy suffered the same fate as 2016 European champions, Portugal who could not make it to the competition automatically on Sunday after they were defeated at home by Serbia.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal finished second in their group with a late defeat to Serbia on Sunday.
Ronaldo was reduced to tears on the pitch at the Estadio da Luz as his Portugal side failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, losing to Serbia.
Portugal went ahead inside two minutes but blew their lead and a stoppage-time winner from Aleksandar Mitrovic ensured that Serbia took top spot in Group A, with Portugal having needed just a draw to advance.
With Switzerland beating Bulgaria 4-0 to top Group C, Italy – who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after going into the play-offs – must settle for second place while Northern Ireland made sure of third.
Portugal are now in the playoffs, along with Sweden, Wales, Switzerland or Italy, Finland or Ukraine, Scotland, one of Turkey, Norway or the Netherlands, as well as Russia, Poland or England, and North Macedonia or Romania.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK