The ‘apocalypse’ as Italy fails to qualify for Russia
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.”
OUT OF THE WORLD CUP: Players of Italy show their dejection after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification play-off between Italy and Sweden.