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


Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw on Monday by a defiant Sweden, which booked a place at next year's finals in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win.

Aside from the U.S., Italy and the Netherlands, Chile, Ireland, Ghana and Wales are some of the high-profile teams set to miss out on the 2018 World Cup, with the U.S. and Italy having seen lengthy World Cup streaks snapped in dramatic fashion.

As De Rossi protested with the staff member he also pointed to Insigne, a fellow unused substitute on the night.

In the dying moments of Italy's turgid 0-0 draw with Sweden, with the 2006 champions on the brink of a catastrophic and shameful exit from World Cup contention, the stalwart midfielder Daniele De Rossi refused to warm up as a sub - because he so desperately wanted his team to win.

Instead Buffon, who was recently named victor of The Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award, was left to bid an emotional farewell to the worldwide stage after 20 years.

'We failed with our aim which could have also been really important on a social level.

Buffon's is comfortably Italy's most-capped player (175 appearances) amid a host of other distinctions achieved since his debut in 1997.

Italy are not the first major nation to miss out on the World Cup, and they certainly will not be the last.

"We have pride and strength, we're stubborn and after the tough falls we find the way to get back up again", Buffon added.

"Sport teaches you to win and lose together, to share the good and the bad".