“I don’t think we have been within two winnable games from a World Cup before,” says Giulio Ferrini, Italy’s British-based midfielder. Undeterred, he also believes the Azzurri can repeat their past heroics on the world stage and qualify for the 2023 men’s World Cup.
In their last international tournament, Italy memorably beat Malaysia at the 2018 FIH Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur in front of 5,000 at the national stadium.
Now they head to Cardiff looking for two victories and a coveted place in the sport’s showpiece in Bhubaneswar.
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WORLD CUP QUALIS: How to watch on TV, preview, fixtures