Italy needs to be itself to qualify for World Cup, says Chiellini

The Italians host North Macedonia in a World Cup playoff semi-final on Thursday after missing out on automatic qualification in November just four months after their Euro 2020 triumph.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years ago, its first failure to reach football's global showpiece since 1958, and Chiellini was confident there was no danger of the team missing out a second time in a row.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Italy does not need to do anything extraordinary to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar and will not have to outdo itself to reach the same level it did when winning last year's European Championship, captain Giorgio Chiellini said on Wednesday.

The Italians host North Macedonia in a World Cup playoff semi-final on Thursday after missing out on automatic qualification in November just four months after their Euro 2020 triumph.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years ago, its first failure to reach football's global showpiece since 1958, and Chiellini was confident there was no danger of the team missing out a second time in a row.

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"We do not need to do anything extraordinary, nothing we do not know how to do. Tomorrow's atmosphere will be great, we all really want to play," the Juventus defender said.

"We need humility, but nothing extraordinary to repeat what we did at Wembley (Euro 2020 final)... If we play like we always have we will reach the result."

Italy boss Roberto Mancini called on his team to focus on Thursday's match.

"As Chiellini said, we just need to concentrate on what we need to do: Italy know how to play football well and we need to think about the pitch rather than other things," Mancini said.

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Mancini added that being able to play in a packed stadium after COVID-19 measures in Italy were lifted last week would give his team an advantage.

"The fact that tomorrow we will be back to 100% (capacity) is something positive and a bonus compared to the last two years. In Palermo there has always been support for the team," he said.

The winners will face either Portugal or Turkey in the playoff final.

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