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'It's shameful, it's madness!' - Furious Baggio thinks Italy should get World Cup spot for winning Euro 2020

09:41 BST 03/06/2022
Florenzi Italy World Cup play-off
The legendary former Azzurri star believes Roberto Mancini’s men deserve to be heading to the 2022 finals in Qatar

Italy legend Roberto Baggio claims it is “shameful” and “madness” that the Azzurri were not guaranteed a place at the 2022 World Cup on the back of their memorable triumph at Euro 2020.

Roberto Mancini’s side savoured continental glory in the summer of 2021, but have been unable to book themselves a place at a global gathering in Qatar later this year.

A shock play-off defeat to North Macedonia ensured that Italy would be missing from a second successive World Cup finals, but Baggio has questioned why they were not already assured of qualification.

Should European Championship winners get a World Cup spot?

Italy struggled for consistency on the back of their Euros victory over England at Wembley Stadium, but Baggio says that should never have been an issue.

The former Azzurri playmaker has said at an event at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport: “Italy won the European Championship, I think it’s shameful, it’s madness that they are not given an automatic berth to the World Cup for that.

“Anyone can lose one game against anyone else on a bad day, but these lads deserve some sort of reward for what they achieved, don’t they? If I had been in that squad, I would’ve struggled to accept it.”

Why did Italy miss out on World Cup 2022?

The Azzurri enjoyed a memorable evening at the home of English football on July 11, 2021 as they prevailed in a penalty shootout against the Three Lions.

They have found the going tough since then, picking up only three wins from 10 fixtures.

Mancini’s men dominated their play-off clash with North Macedonia in March, but conceded a 92nd-minute goal to miss out on tickets to Qatar.

They also came unstuck in their latest outing, a Finalissima meeting with Copa America winners Argentina, but Baggio believes faith needs to be shown in the current regime.

He added: “I think Italy suffered psychological after-effects from the World Cup elimination. You can see it’s a psychological issue.

“We saw [in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina], you just cannot compare the calm and confidence of the Argentina players to our current state of mind.

“Roberto Mancini did something extraordinary, he must be respected and allowed to continue working the way he has done. We have young talents who are not given room to play in Serie A and that is a well-known problem.”

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