Football giants Italy were left a sorry figure after their defeat over two legs in the 2018 FIFA World Cup play-offs against Sweden to mark a big shock, especially after failing to qualify for the coveted tournament after 57 long years.
The 2006 winners weren’t the only big side to miss out, though, as the Netherlands, Chile, and USA too, will be absent from the tourney to be held in Russia next year.
But now, there is suddenly a glimmer of hope for Italy to make a shocking appearance in place of Peru. The South American nation, which qualified for football’s biggest carnival after overcoming New Zealand in the qualifier play-offs, runs a risk of missing out.
According to Libero, Peru’s national team has seen state interference in the country’s FA. Congresswoman Paloma Noceda is in the favour of the Institute of Sport to control the football association.
The report claims that due to FIFA’s stance on governments meddling in football, officials could exclude Peru from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
With the football’s governing body having the rights to replace Peru with a team of its choice, a report in Tuttosport claims that Italy could now be considered if a ruling of such instance is passed. This also depends on whether Peru’s Institute of Sports gets a nod to control the FA.
Although the chances of this happening are minimal, Italy’s little hope still lingers on if the reports end up gaining substance.
Italy are currently ranked 14th amongst the world’s best teams in the official FIFA rankings. The Azzurri had finished 2nd in Group G of the qualifiers behind Spain, and eventually succumbed against Sweden in the play-offs earlier this month.
Written by Rajdeep Saha
Sports journalist with stints across print, digital and television. Contribution to each medium has been thrilling. Experienced in writing for this passionate game called football. Journalist by choice and passion.