Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Reuters

You can listen to Italy v Sweden in the World Cup play-off second leg live on talkSPORT2, on Monday, November 13 from 19:45.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades after a scoreless tie on Monday in Milan meant it lost its playoff to Sweden, 1-0, on aggregate.

Gianluigi Buffon fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from global football following Italy's shock failure to qualify for Russian Federation 2018. It was the third-longest active streak behind Brazil (20) and Germany (16). "We just had to sit there and hope that we could hang on", he said.

"It is really important that we do not end up in a defensive position where we have to defend our goal for 90 minutes, because they are so skilled that they will hurt as sooner or later".

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura blamed bad luck and the referee for Friday's defeat in Stockholm.

More news: Russian Federation prepares to label USA media as 'foreign agents'

Sweden came in second place in the 1958 World Cup.

With this result, veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also announced his retirement from the game. As expected, Italy continued to dominate possession but Janne Andersson's side were able to thwart any attacks Giampiero Ventura's men attempted.

However, the latest reports suggest that he is now being courted by two national teams who would largely benefit from his arrival.

The Croatian football federation seems to have approached Ancelotti for the same reasons as Italy, as the team face equal hard times. "The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant".

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