Italy face crunch Sweden game as World Cup disaster beckons

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Consequently, unless Italy turn things around, tonight will be the last game he plays for his national side, bringing an end to a glittering career at worldwide level that included a World Cup triumph in 2006.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said the national team had failed the country by not qualifying for the World Cup following their 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in the play-off.

Sweden won the first leg at home 1-0, and as a result secured a ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation after a scoreless draw in Milan against the four-time champs. There is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet.

Italy last won the World Cup in 2006.

"[Manager Gian Piero] Ventura is not the only one to blame".

"Those who've played know how hard these matches are".

Ventura could only lead Italy to a second-place finish in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group G, finishing five points behind group winners Spain and setting up a play-off with the Swedes to reach Russian Federation.

To avoid maintaining their remarkable sequence of World Cup appearances, they face the game against Sweden amid an atmosphere of what 'keeper Buffon has described as "high tension".

And now we have the catalogue of penalty appeals during this Italy-Sweden clash, all of which were overruled by Lahoz.

But the Azzurri struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side, and really tested goalkeeper Robin Olsen only once. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.

Gianluigi Buffon appears to have confirmed that his Italy career is over following the nation's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation. I don't want to think it's the game of life but I'm convinced that, with the help of the fans, we will do it. Ireland take on Denmark in Dublin on Tuesday, with the tie finely poised at 0-0 after the teams' draw in Copenhagen on Saturday.

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