Italy fails to reach World Cup after draw with Sweden

Italian players react to their elimination at the end of the World Cup qualifying play-off second leg soccer match between Italy and Sweden, at the Milan San Siro stadium, Italy, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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.

Italy players

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.

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.

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

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