Shock and grief in Italy as World Cup dream implodes

Ancelotti Mancini & the Italy head coach candidates to replace disastrous Ventura

Ancelotti Mancini & the Italy head coach candidates to replace disastrous Ventura

Italy failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958 on Monday night, while the Netherlands and Copa America holders Chile will also be absent.

Italy's Mario Balotelli posted a short clip on Instagram before the game, sending a message to the fans wishing his country good luck.

Despite having retired from worldwide football after the Euros in 2016 and not having played a minute of the World Cup qualifying campaign, Zlatan's tweeted was definitely more about him than the team.

Following the match, an emotional captain Gianluigi Buffon said: "I am not sorry for myself but all of Italian football".

Meanwhile, for Sweden, the Euro nation reaches the World Cup for the first time since 2006, after previously missing out on two successive editions of the competition (2010 & 2014).

The Manchester United striker, who retired from the national team in 2016, was among the crowd in the San Siro to cheer on his former Sweden teammates.

Italian fans were struggling to come to terms with the prospect of a World Cup without their national team.

"This is incredible! This player has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him", Andersson said.

"It's a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup". After the match, he said: "I have not resigned because I haven't spoken to the president yet".

Here, we pick out a talented XI who will be twiddling their thumbs rather than lighting up the world stage next summer.

Jakob Johanssen's deflected goal from the first leg was enough for Sweden to qualify for the tournament in Russian Federation, leaving the retiring Gianluigi Buffon in tears after his final appearance for his country.

The Swedes prevailed 1-0 on aggregate after they won the first leg on Friday.

Ventura, 69, is under contract until 2020. "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful".

Buffon made 175 appearances for Italy and was also a runner-up in the 2012 Euros. I pointed to Insigne too.

"It is an intolerable football shame, an indelible stain", the newspaper said.

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