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Italy out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

Italy out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

The legendary goalkeeper had previously indicated his intent to step away from the Azzurri following the tournament in Russian Federation, but Italy were eliminated from contention for the World Cup with a 0-0 second-leg draw with Sweden, who advanced on aggregate following a 1-0 win in the first leg. At that stage Italy were still optimistic: "I'm still sure we can qualify for the World Cup", Ventura said, "and we are not thinking about the apocalypse".

Three quick thoughts from Italy's 0-0 draw with Sweden in the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff that sees the Swedes qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation.

Italy is also the first previous World Cup champion to miss the tournament since 2006, according to ESPN's Paul Carr.

While Ventura's predecessor Antonio Conte guided Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 - beating Belgium and Spain along the way before going out on penalties to Germany - many felt that the team had overachieved and that the task facing Ventura would be a challenge.

Italy found themselves asking for a penalty early, with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu waving away Marco Parolo's claims of a trip from Ludwig Augustinsson.

Football is all about drama and, one way or another, the World Cup playoffs provide it. The first was in 1958.

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Beaten 1-0 in Solna last Friday, Gian Piero Ventura's team had by far the better of the return match but Robin Olsen, the excellent Swedish goalkeeper, kept them at bay when the home side's shooting was on target. The Italy coach will naturally take the lion's share but the Azzurri's problems run much deeper.

The Brazilian-born Jorginho was finally handed his competitive debut by Ventura, and the midfielder impressed with some deft passing.

Italy just weren't up to it over the two legs.

The play was nearly entirely focused on Sweden's back half in the final minutes.

Manolo Gabbiadini got the nod - perhaps surprisingly ahead of Lorenzo Insigne - to lead the line alongside Lazio striker Ciro Immobile.

"The pressure is all on them", said the former Genoa player.