Italy stunned as Sweden beat Azzurri on aggregate to reach World Cup

Tricia Pearson
November 14, 2017

Gianluigi Buffon suggests that he has retired from global football following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Despite plenty of chances, Italy has been sent packing from the FIFA World Cup, unable to secure the goal they needed in the second leg of their play-off against Sweden.

Italy will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after a 0-0 draw to Sweden in front of a home crowd at San Siro. We are all guilty and responsible for that: "football is like that".

Gian Piero Ventura will surely need to make some modifications to his lineup after such a poor performance in Stockholm.

The makeup of next year's World Cup finals may have looked a lot different had Federation Internationale de Football Association been bold enough to implement the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system for the qualifiers for Russia 2018.

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Ventura could only lead Italy to a second-place finish in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group G, finishing five points behind group winners Spain and setting up a play-off with the Swedes to reach Russian Federation.

"It's just a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup".

"When incidents go badly for you, it's probably your own fault too and if it goes well, you earned your luck".

With Sweden's qualification, 29 teams at the World Cup are now confirmed, with the winners of Ireland/Denmark, Australia/Honduras and Peru/New Zealand to be the final three into the tournament, with those games played on Wednesday morning, Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, respectively. But the Azzurri also struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes. Immbobile beat Olsen with another but Andreas Granqvist got back for a decisive goal-line clearance. Ireland take on Denmark in Dublin on Tuesday, with the tie finely poised at 0-0 after the teams' draw in Copenhagen on Saturday.

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