Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

The Italy players, who along with their 69-year-old coach Gian Piero Ventura, are likely to face long inquests, collapsed onto the pitch in despair at the final whistle and even veterans such as Giorgio Chiellini were inconsolable.

Sweden's goalkeeper Robin Olsen only had one save throughout the match and will surely be worked more in this second leg.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw on Monday by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at next year's finals in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win. "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful".

Neither team was particularly impressive in the first leg of this matchup but Italy had a very disappointing display.

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

"I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including Gigio Donnarumma and Mattia Perin".

Alessandro Florenzi tried an audacious volley that went a foot wide of Olsen's post, while Immobile came close at the near post but, ultimately, the Azzurri found no solutions to get back into the tie, and will miss out on the world finals for the first time in 60 years.

Veteran goalkeeper Gigi Buffon has retired from worldwide football after Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958, declaring: "I am sorry for all of Italian football".

"It is an important game for the history of our national team".

"We knew it was going to be a tough game and in the end, it was decided on an incident".

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