Italy will miss out on back-to-back World Cups for the first time in the national team's storied history, having also failed to get to the tournament in 2018.
It was only in July that Roberto Mancini and his players were celebrating winning Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium, supposedly completing Italian soccer’s redemption story.
On Thursday, there were tears of a different kind, and a general feeling of disbelief inside the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo.
"Just as last July was the best thing I experienced at a professional level, this is the greatest disappointment,” Mancini said. “Soccer is like that, sometimes incredible things happen.”
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