For the very first time in as many as sixty years, the nation of Italy will not be taking part in the prestigious world cup tournament.
Italian players react to their elimination at the end of the World Cup qualifying play-off second leg soccer match
between Italy and Sweden, at the Milan San Siro stadium, Italy, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Italy, one regular face at successive senior FIFA World Cup competitions will be missing at Russia 2018 edition.
The Italian national team for the first time in 60 years have been denied the chance of competing in the football showpiece.
It was Sweden that rewrote history on Monday night as they held the Azurris to a barren draw having won the first leg 1-0 days back.
The Italian team threw everything at Sweden, but a resilient Swedish team held on to qualify for Russia 2018 World Cup after the play-off match.
The four-time champions dominated possession but struggled to create enough clear-cut chances, as Sweden secured a first appearance at the finals since 2006 courtesy of Jakob Johansson’s first-leg strike in Stockholm.
Despite the support of 74,000 fans in a white-hot atmosphere at the San Siro the 2006 World Cup winners could not find a way through.
It is the third time that the Italians will not compete at the World Cup, after not going to the first edition in 1930 and not qualifying for the 1958 finals in Sweden.
It marks the end of an era for iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who will not be able to compete in his sixth World Cup.