The Euro 2020 finalists enjoyed different moods on Monday evening.

Northern Ireland - Italy 0-0
Italy was unable to win in Belfast to secure automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (Image: Twitter/azzurri)

England smashed San Marino 10-0 in their final game of the qualifying campaign, while Italy had to watch Switzerland celebrate direct qualification to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The Euro 2020 champions couldn’t get more than a draw against Northern Ireland and will need to win the playoffs in March 2022 to reach the group stage of the World Cup.

Switzerland put four past Bulgaria and moved to the top of Group C in the European Qualifiers, two points ahead of Roberto Mancini’s Italy. Despite dominating the time of possession, Italy couldn’t create too many chances in Belfast, as Northern Ireland held them to a 0-0 draw. The Northern Irish finished the group in the third position with seven points less than Italy, and will not be involved in the qualification race.

Italy dropped important points against Bulgaria in September, drawing against the Eastern Europeans to give them one of their only two points in the entire campaign.

Apart from their sterile trip to Northern Ireland on Monday, Italy was also held by Switzerland in both of their qualifier matches. Midfielder Jorginho missed a penalty in each of the two games against the Swiss, who can now start preparing for Qatar.

Italy, on the other hand, will need to win two more games to reach the final tournament. They will endure a semifinal match, then, if they go through, a final under the new playoff system. Three more national teams will qualify for the World Cup apart from the 10 group winners.

Dominant England destroys San Marino

Gareth Southgate’s men showed no mercy in their last preliminary round outing. The Group I kings were already through, but that didn’t stop them from scoring 10 goals in their away game against San Marino. England finished the qualifiers undefeated, with 26 points from 10 games. The English scored 39 goals in the process, conceding just three. Poland, who finished six points behind England, will try to find a way to Qatar through the playoffs.

England and Tottenham captain Harry Kane scored four goals before the halftime whistle to get his total in the Three Lions shirt at 48. Kane equaled Gary Lineker as the third all-time top goalscorer in England’s history, now being only behind Wayne Rooney (53) and Bobby Charlton (49). Kane is the first England player to score four goals in an international match since Ian Wright in 1993. The trip to San Marino marked the first goals under the England flag for Arsenal’s Emile Smith-Rowe and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings. Even though he didn’t get his name on the scoresheet, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold assisted three goals in San Marino.

At +700, England is the third-favorite to win the World Cup next year, behind Brazil at +550 and France at +600. The English are better placed in the bookies’ rankings than is Spain at +800, Germany and Argentina at +1,000, and Belgium at +1,200. European Champions Italy is even further behind at +1,200.

Leo Messi is the favorite to win the Golden Boot after the final tournament in Qatar at +1,000. Neymar and Antoine Griezmann follow at +1,100, with Kane joined as the third-favorite by Ronaldo and Timo Werner at +1,500.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18. As of now, 11 national sides have secured their seats at the group-stage draw for the World Cup next year.

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