Iran scandal, crazy turning point?
Italy hopes to participate in the World Cup through a loophole
Written by David Ndy
31/3/2022 1:26 PM
Italy’s national team is still licking their wounds after their embarrassing World Cup defeat to North Macedonia – suddenly there is hope that they will continue to participate in the tournament. The reason is a scandal in Iran that may lead to the exclusion of the World Cup. What are the real opportunities for the Azzurri?
All of Italy is staring at Iran in amazement these days. It is not about the negotiations over the nuclear agreement, but about football. how Italian media In the report, there is little hope that the Italian national team will continue to go to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup – that is, if the Iranian team is excluded from the continental tournament.
A few steps back. Italy plays a good match in the World Cup qualifiers and does not lose a single match. However, at the end of four wins, there are also four draws on the account. And thus only second place in Group C after Switzerland. This means the playoffs. There the proud European champion tied with underdog North Macedonia. Definitely a thing in reality, especially because the Azzurri are allowed to play an “all or nothing game” at home. But North Macedonia shocked the Azores last week with a 1-0 loss in injury time, and for Italy, bankruptcy would mean a historic victory in the World Cup for the second time in a row.
“We are disappointed, broken, and devastated,” Captain Giorgio Chiellini said after the embarrassing bankruptcy. Even Tuttosport admitted a “disaster of biblical proportions”, Corriere dello Sport believes the Azzurri are “in hell” and sobs after great disappointment: “Farewell to the World Cup, bye EM, bye everything.” Well, instead of “arrivalerci” Italy can say “benvenuti” at the World Cup in Qatar. The exclusion of the Iranian team from the tournament in Qatar will make the blue miracle possible.
Italy as a global successor?
Because shortly after the Italians experienced “hell” against North Macedonia, Iran, who have already qualified for the World Cup, will play Lebanon in the World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. Originally, 2,000 women were allowed to play in the highly religious city of Mashhad. However, not a single spectator enters the stadium, and the fans stand in front of the closed gates with their valid cards until the end of the match. According to eyewitnesses, during the protests that followed, the police even used pepper spray against the women.
Shortly thereafter, events in Iran prompted FIFA to take action. The Federation in Tehran fears that the World Cup will be excluded. “We are hearing troubling news from FIFA and the AFC,” Mehrdad Serraghi, member of the FIFA Board of Directors, wrote on Twitter. In 2019, FIFA had already threatened Iran that the country would risk expulsion if spectators continued to be denied access to the stadium.
As a result, rumors are circulating in Italy that the Azzurri might replace Iran, as if the country really is left out, and another team will have to fill in the World Cup groups. However, the chances of this are very slim, because no country has been excluded from the FIFA World Cup. Thus, the procedure for this precedent will not be entirely clear, but FIFA can nominate the country with the highest place in the world rankings. Italy in sixth place will be the likely first mover.
However, Iran was not even mentioned at the FIFA Council meeting on Wednesday, nor was it discussed in Thursday’s congressional session. Even in Italy itself, hopes of participating in the World Cup are fading more and more. “Toto Falso”, it’s all wrong, writes “Gazzetta dello Sport”.
Since then, the governor of the region where the affected qualifying match was played, Mohsen Davari, has apologized for the incident, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has instructed his interior minister to investigate the case. Usually this is enough for FIFA to issue a word of warning, but then do not move, so that everything continues smoothly – for the FIFA, of course, not for Iranian women.
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