Bengaluru, November 14: Italy will not be a part of FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
After losing to Sweden away 0-1 in the first qualifying leg, the four-time world champions and six time finalists Italy conceded a goalless draw to the Scandinavians at San Siro on Tuesday (November 14).
Russia 2018 will be the first World Cup without Italy since the 1958 edition in Sweden.
In the entire history of FIFA World Cup, this will be only the second quadrennial big bash without the Azzurris. They have joined the Netherlands, USA and Chile in the high-profile casualty list of the Russia 2018.
#WCQ | FT— #WCQ (@FIFAWorldCup) November 13, 2017
🇮🇹Italy 0-0 Sweden🇸🇪 (0-1 agg)
Sweden give their all to hold off an Italian onslaught and triumph on aggregate, booking their ticket to Russia.https://t.co/SpQDWJq93q pic.twitter.com/hGK3b8C4jd
The Italians did not participate in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1930 in Uruguay which was won by the hosts.
After suffering a shock 1-0 loss in the first leg in Sweden, the men in blue couldn't find the back of the net on Tuesday no matter how hard they tried.
The Italians will rumble about the refereeing over the two legs. They felt Sweden's physical play in the first leg went unpunished and a couple of penalty-box fouls in the second leg went uncalled. But Sweden too had two convincing penalty claims waved away.
But in reality, they have only themselves to blame. They weren't good enough against Spain in September, losing 3-0 getting condemned to second place in UEFA Group G.
And they weren't good enough in the resulting playoff against Sweden.
Sadly, Gianluigi Buffon's illustrious international career will end in failure.
He will never pull on an Azzurri shirt in a competitive match again. Italy's goalkeeper, who won a world title in 2006, will retire a legend. So do Daniele de Rossi and Andrea Barzagli.
For young stars like Lorenzo Insigne and Jorginho a four-year long wait to dazzle the world arena begins.