Sunday, January 23 2022

Italy’s bid to return to the World Cup after eight years away is still in the balance after a late penalty miss from Jorginho led to the European champions drawing 1-1 with Switzerland on Friday.

The Azzurri remain ahead of the Swiss at the top of Group C on goal difference thanks to Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s header which equalised Silvan Widmer’s rocket opener for the away side.

However passage to next year’s tournament to Qatar is far from secure after Chelsea midfielder Jorginho blasted over a spot-kick in the final moments following a VAR check for a foul on Domenico Berardi.

Now the only two sides who can claim the group’s single guaranteed qualifying spot head into their closing fixtures on Monday with it all still to play for.

Roberto Mancini’s side travel to Northern Ireland while Switzerland, who recovered some pride at the Stadio Olimpico after being thumped at the same ground by Italy at Euro 2020, host Bulgaria.

Italy now have to match Switzerland’s result to ensure a place in the World Cup, assuming that Switzerland fail to beat Bulgaria heavily enough to finish the group with the superior goal difference.

That leaves Italy facing the spectre of the play-offs, where in 2017 they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades following a miserable defeat to Sweden.

Widmer stunned the just under 50,000 crowd at the Stadio Olimpico with 10 minutes on the clock, meeting Noah Okafor’s pull-back with a thumping strike that whizzed past Gianluigi Donnaruumma and into the top corner.

The hosts were rocked and Switzerland could easily have been two ahead shortly after, with a goalmouth scramble being hastily cleared away and the bright Okafor then fizzing a low shot just past the upright.

– Busy Sommer –

Yann Sommer, the hero of the Swiss’ penalty shootout win over France at Euro 2020, pulled off a super save on Nicolo Barella in the 22nd minute after Jorginho’s shot fell to the Inter Milan midfielder.

However he could do nothing about the leveller 13 minutes later, as he failed to get a hand to Lorenzo’s Insigne’s deep free-kick before it reached Di Lorenzo’s head and sailed into the net.

Italy’s tails were up but they failed to create much going forward, being largely restricted to long shots and well shut down when they did managed to penetrate the Swiss penalty area.

Federico Chiesa thought he had wasted Italy’s last chance when he shot a presentable opportunity wildly over the bar with two minutes remaining.

But the crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief when referee Anthony Taylor, who had previously waved away appeals for a penalty for what the home side thought was a foul by Ulisses Garcia on Berardi, then pointed to the spot after watching the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Expecting to celebrate the goal which would have almost guaranteed a return to football’s biggest stage, the home crowd stood in disbelief as Jorginho put his penalty onto the Stadio Olimpico running track and left Italy thinking of another play-off showdown for the World Cup.

td/iwd

Previous

Red Sox prospect Noah Song could resume career in 2022; here's why that matters

Next

England on verge of reaching World Cup as Kane treble destroys Albania

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Watch Bucks vs. Kings: TV channel, live stream info, start time

Who’s Playing Sacramento @ Milwaukee Current Records: Sacramento 18-29; Milwaukee 29-19 What to Know The Sacramento Kings are 2-10 against the Milwaukee Bucks since November of 2015, but they’ll have a chance to close the gap a little bit Saturday. Sacramento will take on Milwaukee at 7 p.m. ET at Fiserv Forum after having had […]

Read More

Kings vs Bucks Prediction, NBA Picks and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game

The Milwaukee Bucks continue their defence of their NBA Championship when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to the Fiserv Forum on Saturday night. Let’s take a look at the top NBA picks and betting trends, as well as the starting lineups for tonight’s Bulls vs Bucks game. Kings vs Bucks Game Info Sacramento Kings  (18-29) […]

Read More

Ortiz’s HOF case changing stigma around DH?

If anyone makes the Baseball Hall of Fame when results of the always contentious voting are announced Tuesday, it will be legendary Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. The gregarious postseason hero known as Big Papi is the only candidate trending toward potential induction in the ballots already made public, as tracked by Ryan Thibodaux […]

Read More