Buffon bids teary farewell as misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup in 60 years

2017-11-14 08:03

Buffon bids teary farewell as misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup in 60 years

Italian players look dejected after their 2018 World Cup qualification match against Sweden in San Siro, Milan, Italy, Nov 13, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

Under fire

Ventura, under fire for his team selections and tactics, made four changes to the team which lost the first leg and brought Jorginho into midfield for the suspended Marco Verratti.

It was a huge ask of the Brazilian-born player who had not previously played a competitive game for Italy.

Nervous and jittery, Italy struggled to find their feet in a desperately scrappy opening 20 minutes, but began to create chances down the wings with Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva.

Candreva had the first real chance when Immobile cut the ball back across the face of goal but he fired over.

The chances began to flow as Jorginho chipped the ball over the Sweden defence to release Ciro Immobile whose shot was partially stopped by Olsen and cleared away by Victor Lindelof as it was about to trickle over the line.

Andreas Granqvist made a superb tackle on Manolo Gabbiadini as he looked set to score and Olsen then denied Alessandro Florenzi after he tricked his way past Mikael Lustig.

Italy kept pressing after halftime but their attacks became more desperate as the game went on and the realization that they were heading for failure clearly weighed on their shoulders.

The Italians did not enter the first World Cup in 1930 but apart from the 1958 finals they have been ever-present.


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