Sweden stun Italy to book World Cup return


ITALY take on Sweden as they look to avoid catastrophe after a 1-0 first leg defeat in Stockholm.

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. It was the third-longest active streak behind Brazil (20) and Germany (16). "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful". "That's why I keep talking about courage, about taking the initiative and go for it when we have the chance", said Sweden coach Janne Andersson.

Neither team was particularly impressive in the first leg of this matchup but Italy had a very disappointing display.

"I leave behind a national team who have got quality and will have people talking about them, from Gigio Donnarumma to [Mattia] Perin - I'm sure they will ensure I am not missed".

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Sweden survived wave after wave of Italian attacks in the second leg of their European playoff on a night of unremitting tension and drama at a disbelieving San Siro.

The four-time champions had been present at every World Cup since 1958 - and Buffon himself since 1998 - and the 39-year-old's retirement from worldwide football was made prematurely on Monday night.

The result will nearly certainly see the end of manager Gianpiero Ventura, while the loss marks the end of superstar goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's time in the national team. Italy are meanwhile superstars having won the competition four times - 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 - and lost two finals in 1970 and 1994.

It will played at the San Siro. "The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant".