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End of the road for Italy as Portugal to battle North Macedonia for W’Cup ticket



Italy are out of the running for a ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup after they fell to a shock defeat to North Macedonia on Thursday night.

The World Cup playoff semifinal game, played in Palermo, Italy, saw the Euro 2020 champions lose 1-0 to their visitors.

After 90 mins of goalless play, Aleksandar Trajkovski picked up the loose ball in the second minute of added time and fired a sensational winner from outside the box.

Defeat for Italy means they will not play at a second World Cup in a row after also failing to qualify for Russia 2018.

North Macedonia now advance to the final of the World Cup playoffs, where they will face Portugal for a chance to reach the finals in Qatar.

Read Also: World Cup Play-offs: Portugal, Italy in danger of missing Qatar showpiece

At Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal fought hard to keep their hopes of reaching the Qatar tournament alive with a win over Turkey.

Portugal, who had Cristiano Ronaldo in action, secured a 3-1 victory over Turkey to reach the final of the playoffs.

First-half goals from Otavio and Diogo Jota put the hosts in control and they looked to be cruising into the play-off final before Turkey responded through Burak Yilmaz.

But Matheus Nunes added a third for Portugal in stoppage time to put the game beyond Turkey, who did miss a late penalty.

Portugal, denied automatic qualification from the group by Serbia, will now face North Macedonia on Tuesday for the chance to book at place in Qatar.

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