He’s often been described as coolness personified from 12 yards, but Jorginho has been made to rue two crucial penalty misses in Italy’s disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign.
The European champions endured another night of World Cup agony as North Macedonia beat Roberto Mancini’s men to ensure the Azzurri have once again failed to qualify for the quadrennial competition, missing out on successive tournaments for the first time in the nation’s history.
Aleksandar Trajkovski punctured Italian hearts in the dying embers at the Renzo Barbera in Palermo, eliminating the Euro 2020 winners from Path C’s semi-final play-off in UEFA’s round of qualifiers, and denying neutrals the chance of a winner-takes-all clash between Portugal and Italy.
Jorginho has now reflected on Italy’s embittered qualifying campaign, saying he will carry the burden of missing two crucial penalties against eventual Group C-toppers Switzerland for the rest of his life. Yann Sommer saved his spot-kick in September’s 0-0, before he blazed over in November’s 1-1.
“It hurts when I think about it, because I do still think about it and it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Chelsea’s regular penalty-taker told RAI Sport.
“Stepping up there twice and not being able to help your team and your country is something that I will carry with me forever, and it weighs on me.
“People say we need to lift our heads and carry on, but it’s tough.”
Italy’s exit means they are the first reigning European champion who have failed to qualify for a World Cup since Greece in 2006, and Jorginho concedes he can’t quite work out what went wrong.
“It is hard to explain what happened,” he added.
“It hurts so much. I’ll be honest, I am still incredulous. I don’t think we lacked creativity, as we always dominated matches and created so many chances. Unfortunately, we were unable to finish them off.
“We played good football, we won the European Championship last summer, but unfortunately in the last few games we made small errors and were unable to recover from them. They made the difference.”