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Italy misses World Cup for first time in 60 years

14 November, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Glenda Knight
  • Italy misses World Cup for first time since 1958; Sweden clinches Russia 2018 spot

In the first leg played on Friday, a deflected Jakob Johansson strike was enough to earn Sweden a first-leg advantage which left Italy on the brink of missing out on a first World Cup since 1958.

"We couldnĀ“t do it in any other way, they are so skilful. That's why I keep talking about courage, about taking the initiative and go for it when we have the chance", said Sweden coach Janne Andersson.

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

"We must be confident in the return leg, otherwise we have already lost".

"I'm leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself".

But former Italy worldwide Andrea Pirlo believes it is risky for the four-time World Cup winners to rely too heavily on the atmosphere generated by 65,000 frenetic fans in the San Siro.

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After the match, their veteran 39-year-old goalkeeper Buffon confirmed his worldwide retirement and also apologised for his team's failure.

Italy, who have won the World Cup four times, will miss out after finishing second to Spain in the UEFA qualifying group stage, and then falling short in the two-legged playoff.

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.

"I expect a full San Siro to carry this team through".

The home team had chances to win the game, however, and overcome the Swedes, but they failed to produce the quality required to put the ball into the net. "The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant". Immbobile beat Olsen with another but Andreas Granqvist got back for a decisive goal-line clearance.

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

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