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Cannavaro believes his country must find a way to qualify

Italy has to rely on the World Cup playoffs to make Qatar 2022, and Fabio Cannavaro believes his country must find a way to qualify.

Italy great Fabio Cannavaro insists the Azzurri cannot afford to fail to qualify for two consecutive World Cups.

The reigning European champions could not top their World Cup qualifying group, leaving them having to beat North Macedonia in the playoffs semi-final on Thursday to keep their hopes alive.

In the final, Italy would have to bypass either Turkey or Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to secure their spot at Qatar 2022, which means one of the previous two European Championship winners will not be present at the World Cup.

Robert Mancini’s reinvigorated Azzurri response to a failure to qualify for FIFA’s showpiece event in 2018 by lifting the delayed Euro 2020. Cannavaro explained that it is vital that they find a way through this year.

Fabio Cannavaro, who won the World Cup in 2006, told Italian newspaper Il Mattino:

“Between us and qualifying for Qatar, there could be Portugal, but Turkey would not be a walk in the park.

“And even before that in Palermo, we must beat [North] Macedonia. We threw away a chance in Rome against Switzerland [in the group stages]. There is no way we can not qualify for the World Cup for eight years.

“It would be a disaster for everyone. But, Mancini will find the resources to be able to qualify.”

While Italy pushes for World Cup qualification, Russia will not be featuring in Qatar after FIFA excluded them due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a decision Cannavaro supports.

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When asked if FIFA had made the right call, he added: “Yes. Football is not a world apart. So it had to give a signal, and it did.”

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