Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Italy to miss World Cup after 0-0 draw with Sweden

Italy to miss World Cup after 0-0 draw with Sweden

The Swedes prevailed 1-0 on aggregate after they won the first leg on Friday.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Sweden, who booked a place in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win on Monday.

Italy, who are now ranked 15th in the world, had an ordinary qualification campaign, finishing second in their group. It was the third-longest active streak behind Brazil (20) and Germany (16).

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Jakob Johansson's second half strike was enough to give their opponents a win at the Friends Arena in Stockholm and they will be defending their lead for their lives as qualification creeps tantalisingly closer at the San Siro. "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful".

In the first leg played on Saturday, Ireland forced Denmark to a 0-0 draw.

Captain Gianluigi Buffon, a veteran of the 2006 World Cup-winning campaign and looking to avoid an inglorious end to his Italy career, admitted the team were under pressure as they carry the weight of national pride.

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"It's just a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup". As expected, Italy continued to dominate possession but Janne Andersson's side were able to thwart any attacks Giampiero Ventura's men attempted. Emil Forsberg proved to be the Nordic team's best player throughout the first round of the qualifiers and was the clear standout in the first leg.

"I expect a full San Siro to carry this team through. The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant". We know how to get back up again as we've always done.

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