The European champions, Italy, did not qualify for the World Cup in 2018 and will also not qualify for the World Cup in 2022. The strong North Macedonia was their conqueror.
Italy was eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar. The emotion of winning Euro 2020 was much worse for Roberto Mancini’s team than it was for Gareth Southgate’s team. They’ve been stuttering ever since, and on Thursday, they lost in stoppage time against North Macedonia, knocking them out of qualification.
At the final whistle, seasoned European superstars such as Giorgio Chiellini, Ciro Immobile, and Jorginho were naturally distraught. They said it all with their reaction to the visitors’ smash-and-grab goal. Either put your hands on your head or put your head in your hands.
Whatever the response, Italy’s players were taken aback. They were unable to recover, and in their stead, North Macedonia advanced to the play-off final against Portugal.
However, images show that the Italian players weren’t finished with their joyful emotions. All hell broke loose when they returned to the dressing room, despondent and in disbelief.
A video circulating on social media depicts the deplorable situation in which the Italy team departed the locker room. And it was a home game, no less! They’d been using and abusing Palermo’s dressing room. They were able to create a setting that looked like a dump.
The Italians were throwing bottles and food around as North Macedonia was singing, dancing, and applauding in their dressing area. The video zooms in on an overflowing bin, as well as wrappers and food left on the floor and on the benches by the players.
It was a complete 180-degree turn from eight months ago, when Italy’s joyful players savored the priceless pleasure of winning Euro 2020 in the Wembley Stadium dressing room with wild celebrations.
On Thursday night, there was no hint of such at Palermo’s Stadio Renzo Barbera. It all felt and looked a little shabby.