Italy have failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in dramatic fashion.
The European champions fell to an injury time goal in their play-off tie against North Macedonia.
Aleksandar Trajkovski pounced on a loose ball and fired through defenders and beyond the goalkeeper in the 92nd minute.
Scenes of elation mirrored scenes of devastation as it dawned on the Italians what this loss meant.
For the second consecutive time, Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup.
The home side dominated the game, with a staggering thirty-two shots in ninety minutes. But they lacked the cutting edge, with just five finding the target.
In contract, North Macedonia have four shots, two on target – and one of those enough to crush Italian dreams.
“A great void will remain within us,” said defender Giorgio Chiellini. “We didn’t concede anything tonight apart from the goal. We created plenty of chances, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to score.”
Chiellini said he and his teammates are “destroyed and crushed” over the loss. “I am proud of a team that has given everything,” he continued. “We hope that this void will give us the push to start again.”
Italy will now suffer at least twelve years between appearances at international football’s largest event.