Misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup for first time since 1958

Italy last failed to qualify for the World Cup finals in 1958. AFP

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Sweden, who booked a place at next year's tournament in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win on Monday. Italy have played in the last 14 World Cup finals, winning two of them.

"For years I've had this feeling that Italian football is a little like Italy itself, which lives a lot in the past when the reality is that it finds itself dealing with things that are quite intense, even shocking", said Matteo Maragnano, peeling oranges in a cafe near Milan's gothic cathedral.

The Italian goalkeeper is retiring from global football after Italy failed to make it to next year's World Cup.

After the game, midfielder Daniele De Rossi and defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli announced they would be retiring from global competition - joining goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who previously said he would do so after the World Cup.

But Ventura made no announcement about his position despite failing to lead the 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 winners to their 19th World Cup. Resignation? I have to evaluate an infinity of issues. "I have not yet spoken to the president", said Ventura. "It doesn't depend on me, I'm not in the state of mind to face this question". I am a bit moved but obviously very happy with the result. "Congratulations to the national team!" he wrote on Facebook.

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It was 1958 and the World Cup was actually held in Sweden across 22 days in June with the hosts finishing runners-up to Brazil. "He is 54 years old and he has never had to go through something like this".

Another Rome resident Enrico Doddi summed up the national disappointment, saying: "You can not have a good World Cup without Italy".

"The players are not innocent either - not managing to score a single goal in two matches against Sweden is unforgivable".

Joy abounded in the Sweden camp as Janne Andersson's side pulled off the first major shock of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ play-offs last night. Play-offs are decided by episodes and they went against us but you can understand that when you're at fault. "I pointed to Insigne too. At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead".

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