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Arrivederci... Italy fails to reach World Cup

Written by: J.R. | 14 Nov 2017 07:17
Italian players slump in defeat as they miss out on a World Cup for the first time in 60 years. EPA pic
Written by:
14 Nov 2017 07:17
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And the unthinkable has happened. Arrivederci, Italia. 

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Sweden who booked a place in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win. 

Sweden survived wave after wave of Italian attacks in the second leg of their European playoff on a night of unremitting tension and drama at a disbelieving San Siro.  

It means the Azzurri 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. 

The result means Sweden side reach the World Cup for the first time since 2006, reports Rueters. 

Italy, which hadn't missed the World Cup since the 1958 tournament in Sweden, penned the visitors into their own half for most of the game and created a hatful of chances but could not find a way past Robin Olsen in the Sweden goal.  

The hosts enjoyed 75 percent of possession and had shots cleared off the line, others stopped by Olsen and penalty appeals turned down as they pressed desperately for a goal.  

"We had no weapons left. We just had to sit there and hope that we could hang on," said Sweden coach Jan Andersson. ""We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful."  

The closest Italy came to scoring was a Ciro Immobile effort which was partially stopped by Olsen and cleared away by Victor Lindelof as it was about to trickle over the line.  

Italy has won the World Cup four times, the latest victory in 2006.  

Italy's players collapsed onto the pitch in despair as the final whistle went and even veterans such as Giorgio Chiellini were inconsolable. 


The crowd's support during the game quickly turned to hostility as boos rang around the stadium.

Captain Gianluigi Buffon was earning his 175th cap for Italy and the 39-year-old goalkeeper confirmed it was his last international appearance, having announced his decision to retire from football at the end of the season.

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