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Serie A '50 years behind Bundesliga and Premier League' says Sarri after Italy fail to reach 2022 World Cup

08:24 BST 02/04/2022
Maurizio Sarri Milan Lazio Coppa Italia
A shock semi-final loss to North Macedonia has brought the Azzurri crashing back to earth after the highs of Euro 2020

Maurizio Sarri says that Serie A is up to half-a-century behind the Bundesliga and the Premier League following Italy's failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Roberto Mancini's Azzurri failed to top their UEFA qualification group and were then eliminated in the play-offs in a shock loss to North Macedonia.

On the back of last year's Euro 2020 triumph, it has brought Italian football crashing back to earth - and Lazio boss Sarri feels that a distinct gulf between the top-flight and rival leagues is an issue that has contributed to their problems.

What has been said?

"If the national leagues represent a movement, England would be champions of Europe, and champions of the world," Sarri stated. "But this is no longer the case.

"Our football has some problems that seems obvious to me. But nobody talks about the more serious issues. If you put yourself in front of the TV, you see Bundesliga and Premier League games, and then you see an Italian stadium, you wonder 'where the f*** are we?'

"We are 30, 40, 50 years behind the others. Nobody ever talks about structures. There is a lack of attention to all the details and we have paid for it."

Italy face reckoning after WC failures

The fallout of the Azzurri's failure to reach Qatar 2022 is likely set to rumble on for some time, particularly given this is their second successive absence from a World Cup after missing Russia 2018.

Having penned a new deal to lead the national team following last year's Euro 2020 triumph, Mancini now faces an uncertain future in the top job, though his record prior to their qualifying failures could well see him retained for the Germany 2024 European Championship.

Italy will be the highest-ranked team not present in the Gulf State this year, after Friday's draw delivered the groups for the early stages of the tournament.

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