November 12, 2021 Italy and Switzerland will determine in the last round who will take off with a direct ticket to the World Cup. The tit-for-tat match on Friday evening ended in a stellar 1-1 draw, with the result that the two countries remain tied on points. There is a good chance that goal difference will ultimately be decisive in the battle for first place in Group C.
In Rome, Italy and Switzerland faced each other for the third time this year. In mid-June, those nations met during the group stage of the European Championship. Italy, the subsequent champion, then qualified for the eighth final by defeating Switzerland 3-0. The second meeting followed in September, this time in the context of World Cup qualifiers. This time the meeting had no winner (0-0).
The countries climbed to the Olympic Stadium on Friday evening, knowing that the winner would take a big step towards the World Cup in Qatar. Surprisingly, it was Switzerland that took the lead after ten minutes. After the excellent preparatory work of Noah Okafor, Sylvain Widmer convincingly concluded. Twenty minutes later, the Italians arranged matters by settling Giovanni di Lorenzo. Header fell to 1-1.
Italy looked for 2-1 in the remainder of the match and appeared to have been helped by the referee shortly before time. Initially Anthony Taylor did not want the Italians to put the ball on the spot after a minor foul on Domenico Berardi, but did so after the intervention of the VAR. Jorginho went behind the ball and seemed to give Italy the full spoils, but he shot high. On the other hand, the Swiss got another chance after slipping from Gianluigi Donnarumma, but the Italians escaped further disasters.
Because of the draw, not only will Italy and Switzerland have to win on the last day of play, but they will also have to work on the goal difference. The Italians have a +2 advantage over the Swiss rival, but they still play the tough away game against Northern Ireland. Switzerland will play Bulgaria at home on Monday.
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