The ‘apoca­lypse’ as Italy fails to qual­ify for Rus­sia

The Gympie Times - - LOCAL SPORT -

ITALY’S cat­a­strophic loss has been la­belled the “apoca­lypse” by lo­cal press in the af­ter­math to their 0-0 draw with Swe­den.

That in­cred­i­ble re­sult con­firms Italy’s fail­ure to qual­ify for the World Cup since 1958, and also con­firmed the end to leg­endary goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon’s in­ter­na­tional ca­reer.

It was ini­tially deemed in­com­pre­hen­si­ble for Italy, four time World Cup win­ners, to fail to qual­ify for foot­ball’s show­piece event but af­ter a drama-filled game at the San Siro, disaster was con­firmed.

“Italy, this is the apoca­lypse! We’re out of the World Cup!”

That was the head­line in

La Gazzetta dello Sport, the pri­mary sports news­pa­per in Mi­lan.

Rome-based Cor­riere dello Sport im­me­di­ately be­gan the in­qui­si­tion, with the head­line: “Flop Italy! Who’s at fault?”

But the most in­cred­i­ble re­ac­tion came im­me­di­ately af­ter the match from Buf­fon, who ended his 175 game Italy ca­reer.

Post-game, the Ju­ven­tus shot­stop­per de­liv­ered an emo­tional re­flec­tion, but more im­por­tantly what it means for Ital­ian foot­ball.

“I’m not sorry for my­self but all of Ital­ian foot­ball,” Buf­fon said.

“We failed at some­thing which also means some­thing on a so­cial level. There’s re­gret at fin­ish­ing like that, not be­cause time passes.

“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.

“I leave a squad of tal­ent that will have their say, in­clud­ing Gigi Donnarumma and Mat­tia Perin.

“I want to give a hug to Chiello (Chiellini), Barza (Barza­gli), Leo (Bonucci) and Lele (De Rossi), who I had al­most 10 years along­side. In foot­ball you win as a group, you lose as a group.”

PHOTO: DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

OUT OF THE WORLD CUP: Play­ers of Italy show their de­jec­tion af­ter the FIFA World Cup 2018 qual­i­fi­ca­tion play-off be­tween Italy and Swe­den.

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