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Italy failure to reach 2022 World Cup makes me want to cry, says FIFA president Infantino

01:50 GMT+4 01/04/2022
Gianni Infantino
The head of football's world governing body laments the Azzurri's failure to reach Qatar

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup made him “want to cry”.

Roberto Mancini’s side suffered a shock play-off defeat to North Macedonia last week that means the European champions miss out on successive World Cups for the first time in the country’s history, having also missed out on the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Infantino, who was born in Switzerland, expressed his sorrow at the prospect of another competition without the Italians, having grown up watching the famous Azzurri sides of the past.

What was said?

Speaking to Rai Sport about the Azzurri’s failure to reach Qatar, Infantino told Italian sports TV channel Rai Sport: “I really want to cry.

“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.

“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…”

Infantino’s final quip was perceived to be a reference towards FIFA’s plans for biennial World Cup.

Last year FIFA commissioned a feasbility study into the idea of a World Cup every two years, a proposal that has proven hugely divisive across world football.

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