Sweden keeps Italy out of World Cup
MILAN (AP) — Players from both teams slumped to the ground, the Swedes in exhausted ecstasy, the Italians in losers’ agony.
On a starry night in Milan, four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Sweden advanced for the first time since 2006. Despite three quarters of possession, Italy was stymied by a goalless draw in the second leg of their playoff on Monday and Sweden prevailed 1-0 on aggregate.
“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.”
The Sweden players ran over to celebrate with the travelling fans, a sea of joyful yellow at San Siro. The Italians looked on in shock and disbelief or put their head in their hands as though it were too painful to watch.
Many of them were in tears, especially captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who played what he said was his last international after 20 years between the posts for the Azzurri.
Italy had failed to qualify for the World Cup just once before, reaching 14 straight since falling short in 1958.