Italy fail to reach World Cup after play-off defeat by Sweden

Giampiero Ventura and Italy must win at the San Siro

Italy soccer team are out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after failing to beat Sweden in their World Cup Qualifying match.

"[Manager Gian Piero] Ventura is not the only one to blame".

Italy piled on the pressure in the second half in search of the goal that would send the tie to extra-time, with Stephan El Shaarawy's fierce volley forcing a late save from Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

Italy had the bad luck of being drawn into the same group as Spain.

Jorginho created Italy's best opportunities with two throughballs for Ciro Immobile, who hit the netting from a tight angle from one.

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With this result, veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also announced his retirement from the game. Prior to that, they had only missed the first edition of the event in 1930 in Uruguay, which they did not enter.

Italy, a four-time World Cup champion, had a penalty appeal of its own waved off by the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz, when Marco Parolo was tripped from behind by Ludwig Augsustinsson.

With Sweden's qualification, 29 teams at the World Cup are now confirmed, with the winners of Ireland/Denmark, Australia/Honduras and Peru/New Zealand to be the final three into the tournament, with those games played on Wednesday morning, Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, respectively. I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn't enough, I hope that we gave them something. Sweden are a solid side and their behavior will make little difference, it all depends on us. That is the only regret I have and certainly not that I am finishing my career, because time passes and it's only right. My situation is not important at the moment.

The draw means Sweden go through 1-0 on aggregate after winning the first-leg by the same scoreline.

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.

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