England, Switzerland clinch World Cup spots; Italy headed for playoff

Sports Desk, Nov 15 (EFE).- Reigning European champions Italy will have to fight for their ticket to World Cup 2022 after being stymied Monday by Northern Ireland and the Italians’ misfortune opened the door for Switzerland to advance as Group C winners, while England won Group I to book their place in Qatar.

After failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 for the first time in 60 years, the Azzurri emerged as a formidable squad under coach Roberto Mancini, setting a new record for consecutive matches unbeaten and hoisting the Euro 2020 trophy in July.

Last Friday in Rome, a missed penalty in stoppage time denied Italy a victory over Switzerland that would have assured the hosts of a 2022 berth.

The visitors dominated in terms of both possession and shots against Northern Ireland in Belfast on Monday, but had to settle for a 0-0 draw that left them at 16 points, 2 behind Switzerland after the Swiss clobbered Bulgaria 4-0.

England, who finished fourth in Russia in 2018, posted their most one-sided triumph since 1964, thrashing hapless San Marino 10-0.

Days after putting up a hat trick against Albania, captain Harry Kane scored four goals, two of them from the penalty spot.

The Three Lions won Group I with 26 points, 6 better than Poland, who lost 2-1 Monday to Hungary and will have to take their chances in the playoff. EFE


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