In their style, celebrating and not caring too much about the consequences, the Italians, after winning the European Championship generously started giving points and dropping as many as eight in the previous five qualifying rounds brought their placement at the World Cup in Qatar into question.
Intoxicated by the success achieved at the continental festival held this summer, the Azures achieved one victory with four draws in the previous four months, and thus practically sent the Swiss to the World Cup next year.
Roberto Mancini's team will have the opportunity to sober up until March when they will face a play-off and potentially two duels until the Qatari visa. The challenges that await Italy will be far more than just a fight for a place in the World Cup, given that the Azures did not qualify for the previous planetary review, and that as a football nation they would join the infamous society that currently consists only of Czechoslovakia, Denmark, and Greece.
The mentioned national teams are the only ones from 1960 that missed the next World Cup immediately after the European crown, and the extent to which such an outcome is rare is shown by the fact that it last happened in 2006 when the World Cup in Germany took place without Greece, the current champion.
The Greeks continued with the failure that former Czechoslovakia started, and the Danes continued. The 1976 European champions missed their trip to Argentina two years later, while Denmark experienced the same scenario after the continental championship won in 1992 in Sweden.
With the victory over Germany (2: 0) in the final, Denmark achieved the greatest success in the history of the national team, but they already experienced a fiasco in the qualifications for the World Cup held two years later in the United States.
A series of below-expected results in Italy should set off an alarm and encourage Mancini and his company to make changes in order to correct the impression in the spring. "I still believe we are a great team. This is a difficult moment, we missed the qualifiers we had in our hands.
We have to find peace again for March and keep playing." "Today we had Northern Ireland as a rival who was just defending, in March it will be different, these are knockout matches, so there will be many more opportunities to play and win, "Mancini pointed out after missing the first place in the group.
"We've been in football too long to deny that there are times when things just don't work out the way they want. Fortunately, we can still qualify. There's no point now looking for reasons why we're in this situation, all we can do is prepare for March, "Mancini said.