Just football

Italy miss first World Cup since 1958 as Sweden qualify


Italy will be watching the Russia 2018 World Cup from home as they won’t be participating in the tournament for the first time in 60 years.

The Four-time champions played a goalless draw with Sweden in a World Cup qualifying play-off second leg on Monday, falling 1-0 on aggregate to miss out on Russia 2018.

It means Gian Piero Ventura’s men will not be present in the competition for only the second time in their history having declined to play at the inaugural tournament in 1930.

Jakob Johansson scored a deflected goal in Stockholm in the first leg on Friday to send Sweden to their first World Cup since 2006.

Italy dominated the game but were unable to carve open a well organized Sweden defence which sat deep and often had a line of six defenders camped in their box.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport described the loss as akin to the “apocalypse” in their headline for the match report.

Captain Buffon, who was also tearful at the final whistle, said: “I am not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level.”

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