Italy Misses World Cup as Sweden Wins Playoff

Giampiero Ventura and Italy must win at the San Siro

Gianluigi Buffon wants to lead Italy to the World Cup next summer (Picture: Getty)When is Italy vs Sweden?

In one of the biggest World Cup shocks in recent memory, Italy will not get to take part in next year's finals after losing to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate in their two-leg play-off.

Italy played to a 0-0 draw with Sweden in a World Cup qualifying play-off second leg on Monday, falling 1-0 on aggregate to miss out on Russian Federation 2018.

"Not for me, but for the football movement, because we failed at something that could've been truly important for the country".

It would be easy to lay the blame squarely on Gian Piero Ventura.

"It's just a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup".

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BC-SOC-Italy-Sweden, 1st Ld-Writethru, 546Italy fails to qualify for World Cup after draw with SwedenAP Photo PDJ151, FP143, FP130, PDJ144, PDJ139, PDJ137, PDJ135, PDJ134, FP132Eds: Updates with more detail.

"Those who've played know how hard these matches are".

But Giampiero Ventura's players couldn't breach a resolute Sweden defence, indeed they struggled to create any meaningful chances as they were bounced out of the World Cup finals. Italy were lacking in imagination and flair and the failure to qualify for the first time since 1958 will nearly certainly see 69-year-old Ventura sacked by the Italian federation.

And now we have the catalogue of penalty appeals during this Italy-Sweden clash, all of which were overruled by Lahoz. But the Azzurri also struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side. "There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes", Buffon said after the result. Immbobile beat Olsen with another but Andreas Granqvist got back for a decisive goal-line clearance.

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.

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