Italy Fail to Reach World Cup as Swe­den Qual­ify

Iran News - - SPORTS -

MI­LAN (Dis­patches) - Ital­ian foot­ball boss Carlo Tavec­chio said re­cently that fail­ure to qual­ify for the World Cup would be the apoc­a­lypse and his worst fears came true on Mon­day as they missed out on the fi­nals for the first time in 60 years.

A des­per­ate 0-0 draw at home to a de­fi­ant, bel­liger­ent and tech­ni­cally in­fe­rior Swe­den ended the four-time world cham­pi­ons’ hopes of reach­ing next year’s fi­nals in Rus­sia and with it the in­ter­na­tional ca­reers of sev­eral of Italy’s big­gest names.

The Swedes, whose start­ing lineup in­cluded only four play­ers based with teams in Europe’s so-called big five leagues, will take their place af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the first time since 2006.

Italy’s 1-0 ag­gre­gate de­feat in their Euro­pean play­off, af­ter Jakob Jo­hans­son’s de­flected strike in Stock­holm, is likely to go down along­side elim­i­na­tion by North Korea at the 1966 World Cup as one of their great­est foot­ball de­ba­cles.

The Ital­ians have only failed to qual­ify for the tour­na­ment once be­fore - miss­ing out on the 1958 fi­nals in Swe­den - af­ter not en­ter­ing the first World Cup in 1930.

The play­ers sank to their knees as the fi­nal whis­tle went, the stark­est pos­si­ble con­trast to the Swedish joy, know­ing that the match will leave an in­deli­ble stain on their ca­reers.

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