Sports

Misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup for first time since 1958

Misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup for first time since 1958

After Sweden's "Miracle of Milan" booked them a berth at the World Cup finals and sent Italy crashing out, could Zlatan Ibrahimovic be set for a return from worldwide retirement?

"We had no weapons left", Andersson admitted. "I just said we were near the end and had to win, so send the strikers to warm up".

Their on-field celebrations proved too much for the Eurosport news desk, which they tackled and subsequently broke.

The Italians were desperate to get a first goal before halftime, when Ciro Immobile found himself in on goal, but his shot took a slight deflection from Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen and was ultimately cleared before the ball could trickle over the goal line by Andreas Granqvist.

Buffon made 175 appearances for Italy and was also a runner-up in the 2012 Euros.

"It's a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup". BBC's Matthew Kenyon goes over the 39-year-old's other impressive stats.

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"I'm sorry. Not for me, but for Italy. The only regret is that it ended like this", he added. "We have believed in this, we know how strong we are".

In the minutes after the Swedes hung on for a goalless draw on Monday that secured one of the big World Cup upsets, Ibrahimovic wrote "We are Zweden" on Instagram next to a photo of the delighted team, deliberately adding the "Z" of his name to his country's. It's a unique disappointment.

Failure to qualify has heaped pressure on Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura, with the sport daily Corriere dello Sport calling for him to step down, while the headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport read "Italy, this is the apocalypse".

It continued: "We will not be with you and you will not be with us".

"There will be inevitable consequences, but let's just see if they stop with Ventura or go further".

The Italian media has largely placed the blame for a poor qualifying campaign and dismal play-off attempt at the door of head coach Giampiero Ventura, who is under contract until 2020. I have to evaluate an infinity of things. "I have not yet spoken to the president", said Ventura. We will meet with the federation and discuss it'.


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