Do all former winners deserve a place at the World Cup?

Qatar 2022 is bound to prove a tournament of great excitement and possibility for all the nations lucky enough to watch their side competing on the international scene this winter. The ultimate winner remains to be decided, yet football fans have been left understandably captivated by what the upcoming competition has to offer.

But in light of Italy’s recent loss in World Cup 2022 qualifying to Macedonia, should all former winners be allowed to take their place at the World Cup? This is the second World Cup in succession that Italy have missed but in between that, they were the Euro 2020 winners just 18 months ago.

Can any upcoming World Cup tournament – filled with the prospect of great drama, heartbreak and roaring emotion for worldwide football fans all across the globe – ever be considered a fit and proper exercise without the famous Azzurri operating among its ranks? Arguably not…

First things first, Italy have certainly failed to warrant their position at World Cup 2022 in Qatar after a poor qualification record, regardless of how conceivable it is to envisage the Azzurri thriving upon the international scene with their usual swagger and finesse.

Sweden arguably represented the better team over both stages of the latest qualification process, and as Italy failed to find the back of the net in over 180 minutes of international football in recent outings, no one can discredit Sweden as an outfit worthy of their upcoming place at Russia 2018.

Italy lack both style and substance all across the park. Their reliable defensive stalwarts in the shape of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon obviously need no further introduction – but as for the rest of Gianpiero Ventura’s former players – well, perhaps the least said about them, the better.

The Azzurri struggle from an attacking point of view. The decreasing standard of Serie A football has arguably damaged the Italian national team beyond a point of irreversible damage, and whilst Italy still admittedly contain some star quality among their first team ranks, the overall level of management and tactical play seemingly requires a great deal of work.

Yet perhaps none of the aforementioned factors should really come into this debate. If all former World Cup winners were offered a guaranteed place at each subsequent tournament throughout every available year, Italy clearly wouldn’t find themselves anywhere near their current predicament.

The World Cup is not a charity. It’s about placing the best teams in international football against one another for the best possible results. Whilst Italy have certainly squandered a great deal in their most recent international outings, no one could accuse them of failing to represent one of the most significant teams in the whole of world football.

Maybe one World Cup triumph ought to earn you fifty years of subsequent World Cup service. Maybe not. But when it comes to Italy’s glaring absence from this summer’s tournament, football fans have been left somewhat undecided as to what the best course of action should be.

Either way, nothing can really be done about it now. Italy must build upon their failures and launch a brand new era for the Azzurri to bounce back upon the prestigious intentional scene, whilst the rest of the world have the pleasure of watching Sweden go about their business in place of the Italians.

We all know that the current World Cup system for selecting teams isn’t exactly perfect, but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles…

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