Sports

Sweden shatter Italy's World Cup dream

Sweden shatter Italy's World Cup dream

Sweden recorded a memorable victory over Italy on Friday with a one-goal advantage into the second leg at the San Siro! Carlo Tavecchio, president of the Italian FA, famously said in September that "not qualifying would be an apocalypse".

Meanwhile, Italy coach Ventura refused to speak to Rai reporters at the final whistle.

"Not for me, but for the football movement, because we failed at something that could've been truly important for the country".

"Those who've played know how hard these matches are".

Sweden were rated nearly no chance of progressing to the finals, but the 25th-ranked team progressed to the play-off on goal difference, finishing second in their group ahead of the Netherlands and four points behind France.

Jorginho created Italy's best opportunities with two throughballs for Ciro Immobile, who hit the netting from a tight angle from one.

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Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed his retirement from worldwide play after Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

It could have been worse for Italy, as Sweden was denied what looked like two clear-cut penalties for handballs, first by Matteo Darmian and then Andrea Barzagli. Italy has participated in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament. They pressed, they pushed, but they could not prevail, and as a result will miss out on next year's tournament in Russian Federation, their first such failure in six decades.

Gianluigi Buffon fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from global football following Italy's shock failure to qualify for Russian Federation 2018.

For Sweden, they will be making a return to the World Cup after missing out in the 2010 and 2014 editions in South Africa and Brazil respectively. Italy were lacking in imagination and flair and the failure to qualify for the first time since 1958 will nearly certainly see 69-year-old Ventura sacked by the Italian federation.

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us". That is the only regret I have and certainly not that I am finishing my career, because time passes and it's only right. "I'm fully aware that this game is fundamental for us, but it's the same scenario as when I first signed to lead the national side", he continued. My situation is not important at the moment. But even in its most basic form, it would surely be better than the status quo, which sees officials castigated for honest mistakes and teams denied a place at the World Cup as a outcome.

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.


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