Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella has received criticism in Italian media for his failure to impact the game in the Italian national team’s World Cup qualifying draw with Switzerland yesterday evening.
The 24-year-old was given a mediocre score of 5/10 in the player ratings for the match from L’Interista, who state that the Nerazzurri midfielder did not lack application but that he looked sloppy and some way off his best form.
Italy will have to hope that they can qualify for the 2022 World Cup via a playoff, with yesterday’s draw coupled with Switzerland’s emphatic win over Bulgaria meaning that it is the Swiss who qualify directly from the group and the Azzurri who drop into second spot in the group.
Roberto Mancini’s men will still feel that they have all the quality to get the better of any opponent they face in the qualifying round, having won the Euros in the summer.
However, they now risk missing out for the second World Cup in a row after a listless performance against Northern Ireland, and Barella’s performance was deemed to be one of the worst offenders.
The midfielder had some misplaced passes and poor touches, and as had been the case in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Switzerland, he was substituted midway through the second half.