World Cup: FIFA President Gianni Infantino admits he ‘wants to cry’ after Italy’s qualifying exit


‘I really want to cry’: FIFA President Gianni Infantino admits Italy failing to qualify for the Qatar World Cup has left him devastated… before hinting that they may not have to wait four years to play in the tournament again

  • Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the second consecutive year
  • The Azzurri lost against North Macedonia in their qualifying playoff semi-final
  • After missing the 2018 showpiece, they will now miss out on this year’s in Qatar
  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino admits their exit has left him close to tears 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino admits Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has left him on the verge of tears.

The European champions have missed out on World Cup qualification for the second consecutive year, having also come up short in their bid to reach the 2018 showpiece.

Roberto Mancini’s side suffered a shock defeat in their qualifying playoff semi-final against North Macedonia last week, ending their hopes of building on their success at Euro 2020.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino at congress

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says he ‘wants to cry’ after Italy’s shock World Cup exit

Italy suffered an unexpected defeat in their qualifying playoff semi-final vs North Macedonia

Italy suffered an unexpected defeat in their qualifying playoff semi-final vs North Macedonia

And after watching Italy crash out of football’s biggest competition, Infantino says he was left devastated. 

‘I really want to cry,’ the 52-year-old told Rai Sport.

‘For all the Italians it is sad, it is the second World Cup in a row in which the Azzurri do not participate.

‘And if they qualify for the next World Cup it will be 12 years of absence ‘ 

Infantino recalled falling in love with football when watching the Azzurri as a kid, while also hinting that they may not have to wait another four years to compete in the World Cup. 

Infantino says their failure to qualify for this year's tournament in Qatar has left him devastated

Infantino says their failure to qualify for this year’s tournament in Qatar has left him devastated

He recalls 'falling in love with football' around the time Italy won the 1982 World Cup

He recalls ‘falling in love with football’ around the time Italy won the 1982 World Cup

The FIFA chief added: ‘I think back to when I was a kid, the emotions of watching the World Cup in 1978 and 1982, these are the things that make you fall in love with football.

‘It’s sad for the Italian children, but this is the situation, only 32 can qualify and the World Cup is every four years. For now…’

Despite his suggestion that the World Cup could soon become a more frequent tournament, Infantino is adamant that FIFA never put forward the controversial idea for it to be held every two years.  

The proposal for a biennial World Cup has sparked controversy in football, with European governing body UEFA and CONEMMBOL, the South American confederation, threatening to boycott the competition if it materialised.

A two-year plan was put forward at the last FIFA Congress by Saudi Arabia football federation president Yasser Al Misehal, who believes a change is crucial global development of the game.

But Infantino said at this year’s congress: ‘Let me be very clear FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup,’ he began. ‘Let’s get the process clear here, the last FIFA congress asked the FIFA administration with a vote with 88% voted in favour … to study the feasibility of a World Cup every two years.

‘The FIFA administration… did exactly that. We started the feasibility, but FIFA did not propose anything. FIFA came to the conclusion that it is feasible, but it would have some repercussions and impacts.’

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