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Italy 0-0 Sweden (0-1 agg): Azzuri fail to qualify for WC

Italy 0-0 Sweden (0-1 agg): Azzurri fail to qualify for World Cup for first time since 1958 as Gian Piero Ventura's side fail to break down stubborn visitors

  • Italy exerted plenty of pressure but Sweden held firm to claim their place at next summer's World Cup
  • Jakob Johansson's first leg goal was enough for Janne Andersson's side to book their place in Russia
  • There will be no sixth finals for Gianluigi Buffon, who has collected his last international cap
  • There will be a national inquest to find out what went wrong for Gian Piero Ventura's outfit
  • RECAP: Take a look back at all the action from the second leg of the World Cup play-off at the San Siro

By Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail

Published: 21:41 GMT, 13 November 2017 | Updated: 09:58 GMT, 14 November 2017

Mamma Mia, here we go again. Not content with seizing their most famous expression of despair and turning it into a pop hit and a West End musical, the Swedes have returned to haunt Italy.

This time they hit the Italians where it really hurts: stealing their pride, strangling their dreams and producing a World Cup finals without the Azzurri for the first time since 1958.

The enormity will take time to digest and there will be an inevitable inquest but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, having won his 175th and last international cap tackled the humiliation with typical dignity.

Sebastian Larsson and his Sweden team-mates celebrate after reaching the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia

Sebastian Larsson and his Sweden team-mates celebrate after reaching the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia

Sweden's players go crazy on the pitch following the final whistle after defending for their lives against Italy 

Sweden's players go crazy on the pitch following the final whistle after defending for their lives against Italy

Former Premier League player Larsson holds up his Sweden shirt as he celebrates with the travelling supporters at full-time 

Former Premier League player Larsson holds up his Sweden shirt as he celebrates with the travelling supporters at full-time

There will be no sixth finals for captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who collected probably his last international cap

There will be no sixth finals for captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who collected probably his last international cap

The 39-year-old Juventus legend acknowledges the disappointed Italy supporters at the San Siro 

The 39-year-old Juventus legend acknowledges the disappointed Italy supporters at the San Siro

A tearful Buffon is consoled by Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof after the final whistle in Italy

A tearful Buffon is consoled by Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof after the final whistle in Italy

Buffon and Gian Piero Ventura console each other as they come to terms with missing out on the 2018 World Cup

Buffon and Gian Piero Ventura console each other as they come to terms with missing out on the 2018 World Cup

Buffon looks set to hand the Italy goalkeeping reigns to AC Milan's talented stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma 

Buffon looks set to hand the Italy goalkeeping reigns to AC Milan's talented stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma

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MATCH FACTS

ITALY 3-5-2: Buffon 6; Barzagli 6, Bonucci 6, Chiellini 6; Candreva 6.5, Florenzi 6.5, Jorginho 7, Parolo 6, Darmian 6 (El Shaarawy 64, 5); Immobile 6.5, Gabbiadini 6 (Belotti 64, 5).

BOOKINGS: Chiellini, Barzagli,

MANAGER: Gian Piero Ventura 6

SWEDEN 4-4-2: Olsen 7; Lustig 6.5, Lindelhof 7, Grandqvist 7.5, Augustinsson 6; Claesson 6 (Rohden 72, 5), Johansson 6 (Svensson 19, 6), Larsson 6, Forsberg 6.5; Toivonen 5 (Kiese Thelin 54), Berg 6.

BOOKINGS: Johansson, Forsberg, Lustig, Kiese Thelin

MANAGER: Jan Andersson 6.5

REF: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)

'I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,' said 39-year-old Buffon, beaten by a deflected Jakob Johansson strike in the first-leg in Stockholm on Friday which proved the only goal of a two-legged tie.

'We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There is regret at finishing like that.

'Blame is shared equally between everyone. There cannot be scapegoats. Win together, lose together.

'We have pride, strength and we are stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we've always done.

'I am leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I've shared this wonderful journey with.'

Buffon, a world champion in 2006, knows football defines Italy and can unite the country when the Azzurri are successful.

Four times they have won the World Cup and twice they have been beaten in the final.

Images of Toto Schillaci, Roberto Baggio, Luigi Riva, Marco Tardelli and Dino Zoff are woven into the history of the competition.

As, indeed, are upsets at the hands of North Korea and South Korea and in the last two finals when they failed to climb out of the group.

Usually, however, the Italians can depend on reaching the finals.

Not this time. Having finished second in a qualifying group won by Spain, they proved unable to score past Sweden in 180 minutes.

The Italy squad pictured looking dejected after failing to break down Janne Andersson's stubborn visitors

The Italy squad pictured looking dejected after failing to break down Janne Andersson's stubborn visitors

It was a very frustrating night for the Azzurri as they failed to find a moment of magic at the San Siro in front of their fans

It was a very frustrating night for the Azzurri as they failed to find a moment of magic at the San Siro in front of their fans

Italy midfielder Alessandro Florenzi looks dejected during the tight affair with Sweden in Milan on Monday night

Italy midfielder Alessandro Florenzi looks dejected during the tight affair with Sweden in Milan on Monday night

Andrea Belotti desperately tries to get the ball off Hull midfielder  Larsson during the second period

Andrea Belotti desperately tries to get the ball off Hull midfielder Larsson during the second period

The damage was done in Stockholm where a one-goal advantage gave Jan Andersson the chance to showcase his team's brilliant collective spirit and discipline.

Gian Piero Ventura, who replaced Antonio Conte after Euro 2016, will be at the centre of the storm as an inquest unfolds in Italy.

His contract is up next year and will not be renewed.

Chelsea manager Conte and Carlo Ancelotti, out of work since he was fired by Bayern Munich, are sure to be among those in demand.

In the San Siro, Ventura's side dominated but it counted for little as they squandered chances and appealed desperately for intervention from the referee.

Torino striker Belotti looks on as the ball goes over the Sweden crossbar in the closing stages of the second leg

Torino striker Belotti looks on as the ball goes over the Sweden crossbar in the closing stages of the second leg

Andrea Barzagli reacts in anger towards the referee as the frustrated hosts desperately searched for a lifeline 

Andrea Barzagli reacts in anger towards the referee as the frustrated hosts desperately searched for a lifeline

Monday's referee talks to animated Italy boss Ventura during the first half at the San Siro on Monday

Monday's referee talks to animated Italy boss Ventura during the first half at the San Siro on Monday

Jakob Johansson is taking off on a stretcher in the 19th minute at the San Siro before being replaced by Gustav Svensson

Jakob Johansson is taking off on a stretcher in the 19th minute at the San Siro before being replaced by Gustav Svensson

No sooner had the game kicked-off and Marco Parolo was tumbling around in the penalty box in search of a penalty.

Matteo Darmian had a better case in the second-half when felled by Mikael Lustig but Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz awarded a free-kick to the Swedes for hand-ball.

It was a strange decision by Lahoz, especially since he chose to ignore two clear handball offences by Italy in the first-half as Swedish appeal for penalties went unacknowledged.

Ciro Immobile thought he had found a way through in the first-half when he collected a pass from Jorginho and forced it past Robin Olsen but the Swedish goalkeeper managed to take some of the pace off the shot.

Ciro Immobile takes a shot at goal as Sweden shot-stopper Robin Olsen rushes out to close the 27-year-old Lazio striker

Ciro Immobile takes a shot at goal as Sweden shot-stopper Robin Olsen rushes out to close the 27-year-old Lazio striker

Italy ramped up the pressure in the early stages of the World Cup qualifier as they looked to overturn a 1-0 deficit

Italy ramped up the pressure in the early stages of the World Cup qualifier as they looked to overturn a 1-0 deficit

Buffon embraces defender Leonardo Bonucci during the intense opening period of the World Cup play-off

Buffon embraces defender Leonardo Bonucci during the intense opening period of the World Cup play-off

Andreas Grandqvist, a 32-year-old former Wigan centre-half who was immense in central defence, dashed back to clear.

Other Italian efforts flashed wide, a cross from Alessandro Florenzi hit the woodwork and Olsen made saves to heighten the frustration.

Ultimately, not unlike England in the Euros against Iceland, Italy became paralysed by the prospect of defeat.

Sweden, having helped to dispose of Holland in the qualifying group, claimed another illustrious scalp on their way to Russia.

The 39-year-old Buffon clears the ball  as Sweden's Marcus Berg exerts some pressure on the Italy legend

The 39-year-old Buffon clears the ball as Sweden's Marcus Berg exerts some pressure on the Italy legend

Italy manager Ventura sings the national anthem before the second leg of their World Cup play-off with Sweden

Italy manager Ventura sings the national anthem before the second leg of their World Cup play-off with Sweden

Italy and Sweden players line up for the national anthems on Monday night while the home fans produce a colourful display

Italy and Sweden players line up for the national anthems on Monday night while the home fans produce a colourful display

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