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Why isn’t Italy in the 2022 World Cup?

The Euro 2021 champions will not be in FIFA’s headliner event.

Turkey v Italy - International Friendly
Leonardo Bonucci of Italy arrives before the International Friendly match between Turkey and Italy on March 29, 2022 in Konya, Turkey.
Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The 2022 World Cup draw takes place on Friday, April 1, and we’ll come out of that with the eight groups that will compete in Qatar this fall. The 2022 World Cup will take place in November, with the first group stage match being played November 21. This event will not feature Italy, the Euro 2021 champion and global soccer powerhouse. Why aren’t the Italians in the 2022 World Cup?

Qualifying from UEFA, Europe’s soccer federation, is a difficult task. The group winners from the qualification process get into the event automatically, while the second-place teams get sent to a playoff. These teams get placed in two pots, seeded and unseeded, for the semifinal draw. The highest Nations League group winners who finished outside the top two of their qualification group are also part of this process and go in the unseeded portion.

The seeded teams get drawn against the unseeded teams, resulting in three bracket-style playoffs. Italy was part of this process and played North Macedonia in the first part of the playoff bracket. The Italians lost, sending them crashing out of the qualification process and out of the World Cup.

This is the second straight World Cup Italy will not participate in, after missing out in 2018 as well. It’s actually been a rough showing on the global stage for the Italians of late. After winning the 2006 World Cup, Italy has crashed out of the group stage in 2010 and 2014 before failing to qualify in 2018 and now 2022. We’ll see if the Euro champions can turn things around by the time qualification for the 2026 event rolls around.