Sweden stun Italy to book World Cup return

Sweden stun Italy to book World Cup return

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.

However, the Italians were unable to get on the scoresheet at the San Siro as the Swede's held on to a goalless draw.

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, who booked a place at next year's finals in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win.

The defeat brought the curtain down on the remarkable worldwide career of 39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was making his 175th appearance for his country.

"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football", BBC Sport quotes Buffon as saying. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.

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However, the veteran keeper said the future was bright for the Azzurri.

"I want to give a big hug to everybody who has always supported me, like Chiello [Giorgio Chiellini], Barza [Andrea Barzagli], Leo [Bonucci], Lele [Gabriele Oriali, team manager] and everybody who's shared these past 10 years with me".

Sweden were rated nearly no chance of progressing to the finals, but the 25th-ranked team progressed to the play-off on goal difference, finishing second in their group ahead of the Netherlands and four points behind France. I'm leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself.

After joining Italy as an unused substitute at the 1998 World Cup, Buffon made his World Cup debut in 2002, then helped Italy lift the trophy at Germany 2006.

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