Milan stunned to silence
Draw with Sweden leaves Italy on outside looking in
Four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades after losing its playoff to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate.
Despite three quarters of possession, Italy was stymied by a goalless draw in the second leg at Milan’s San Siro on Monday.
“It’s a black moment for our game,” Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. “Unfortunately there will be a lot of time to analyze it. The only thing I can say is that we showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics.”
Sweden advanced to its first World Cup since 2006.
It could have been worse for Italy, as Sweden was denied what looked like two clear-cut penalties for handballs, first by Matteo Darmian and then Andrea Barzagli.
Italy had a penalty appeal of its own waved off by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz when Marco Parolo was tripped from behind by Ludwig Augsustinsson.
But the Azzurri struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side, and of their six shots on target, only one really tested goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
“We all need to look within and find a way to bounce back,” defender Giorgio Chiellini said. “We need to get back to the level we deserve to be at.”
This will be only the second World Cup missed by Italy. The first was in 1958.
The last major competitions Italy failed to qualify for were the 1984 and 1992 European Championships.
i’m sorry that we failed at something that could have also been important on a social level. that’s the only regret i have. Gianluigi Buffon who would have become the first player to travel to six World Cups
Sweden’s players celebrate at the end of Monday’s match at the san siro stadium in Milan.