Aleksandar Trajkovski scored in the 92nd minute for the Lions to knock out the European champions and set up a finals date with Portugal next week.
Roberto Mancini’s side, who lifted the Euro 2020 title last July, were dominant in the match but didn’t offer any real threat and were eventually made to pay for it.
Distraught by the stunning defeat, Verratti struggled to understand how things went so downhill just eight months after their Wembley triumph.
Speaking to RAI Sport after the match, the PSG midfielder said:
“It is difficult to understand. I think we dominated this match and we should’ve won. We had to win. It is difficult to understand. I think we dominated this match and we should’ve won. We had to win. Looking around the locker room, we had the players to challenge for the tournament itself, yet here we are talking about a disaster. It’s so tough to go from hero to zero.”
Italy had 32 shots in the game but only five were on target. Domenico Berardi missed a glorious chance to score in the first-half by firing a tame effort straight at the Macedonian goalkeeper.
Verratti lamented his side’s inability to find the net and suggested it was time for them to head back to the drawing board.
He further added:
“We experienced special times together and I will always be proud of my teammates. This is football, you need to score goals. We didn’t manage it, but we gave everything we had. It wasn’t enough. We have to ask ourselves questions now. There’s some bad luck, but you also need to make your own luck.”
Verratti was also a part of Italy’s squad that was beaten by Sweden in the playoffs in 2017 which marked their first World Cup absence since 1958.
Italy were the masters of their own downfall
Italy have no one to blame but themselves for this disaster.
Not only did they spurn chances last night, but were also guilty of the same during their qualifying campaign last year.
Jorginho, in particular, missed two penalties in their draws against Switzerland, who beat them to the automatic qualification spot in Group C on goal-difference.
He saw his first penalty attempt saved in a 0-0 draw and skyed the other one during their 1-1 draw last November.
Had they won both games, the Azzurri would have directly qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.