Italy fails to reach World Cup after draw with Sweden


The goalless draw meant Italy failed to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 [Max Rossi/Reuters]

Four-time world champions Italy have failed to qualify for the football World Cup for the first time in 60 years after drawing 0-0 against Sweden in Milan.

A solid Sweden side held firm at the San Siro stadium on Monday night to qualify for next summer’s tournament in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win in a hard-fought play-off.

Italy, a football-crazy country, has taken part in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the sport’s most prestigious event in 1958.

The last major competitions it missed were the 1984 and 1992 European Championships. 

Having successfully defended Jakob Johansson’s winner from the home leg in Stockholm, Sweden are now set to take part in their 12th World Cup.

Sweden’s players celebrate after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup [Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters]

Unsuprusingly, Monday night’s match became the top trending topic on Twitter in Italy, with thousands of fans expressing their shock and sadness at the Azzurri’s failure.

Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon shortly after the end of the match at San Siro [Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters]

With tears in his eyes, Italian goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from international football after the match.

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