Sweden shatter Italy's World Cup dream


It was always going to be hard for Italy to get their own way in the Swedish capital, but with a wealth of striking options, one of the stingiest defences in Europe and arguably the best goalkeeper in the world in Gianluigi Buffon, much more was expected from this return clash.

Italy's player drop to the turf.

They played to a goalless draw in the second leg at San Siro on Monday. "We failed at something which also means something on a social level".

"We are Italy and, if we qualify, I would like to be able to say that we did it by playing football", Ventura said at the pre-match press conference. "There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes", Buffon said after the result.

"I'm leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself". I want to give a hug to Chiello, Barza, Leo and Lele, who I had nearly 10 years alongside.

This is the first time since the 1958 edition held in Sweden that Italy have failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us".

"In football you win as a group, you lose as a group, you divide the credit and the blame".

"The coach is part of this entire group".

The Azzurri went into the World Cup playoff trailing 1-0 from the first-leg in Solna.

Italy, who are now ranked 15th in the world, had an ordinary qualification campaign, finishing second in their group.

The 25-year-old Jorginho was one of three changes to the team that had started in Stockholm, with Torino's Andrea Belotti, who played the first 65 minutes of the first leg and touched the ball five times, replaced by Southampton's Gabbiadini, and Roma's Alessandro Florenzi preferred to his club colleague Daniele De Rossi. "There will be two very intense days, full of pressure".

He added: "We want to send Italians a message not with words, but with action on the pitch".