Italy misses out on World Cup finals after shock loss to Sweden

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:55:22 AM. The World Cup finals will not feature Italy for the first time since 1958 as the Azzurri lose 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden in their play-off.
Photo: Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, left, and Manolo Gabbiadini react to their team's loss. (AP:Luca Bruno) 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, who have won the World Cup on four occasions, the last time in 2006, will be the most high profile absentee from the finals in Russia next year. The result is a disaster for the Italian national team — which last missed the finals in 1958 — and for embattled coach Gian Piero Ventura, whose tactics and methods have been questioned by pundits and former players alike. Photo: It's been six decades since Italy missed a World Cup finals, but the Azzurri will not be playing at Russia 2018. (AP: Luca Bruno) Playing in front of a vocal crowd at the San Siro in Milan, the Azzurri went into the game knowing they had to score at least once to stay alive, after a goal from Jacob Johansson gave Sweden a vital 1-0 win in the first leg in Stockholm. Italy looked the stronger side, and had plenty of chances — 11 shots on goal to Sweden's one in the first half — but could not convert any. On the other hand, Sweden appeared hard done by when Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz declined to award a penalty after a shot by Sweden's Emil Forsberg hit the arm of Italian defender Andrea Barzagli inside the area. It was still goal-less at half-time, and the tension rose as time began to tick down in the second...Read more
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