Griev­ing Ital­ians say it was W’Cup ‘apoc­a­lypse’

Tempo - - Sports -

MI­LAN (AFP) – A tear­ful Gian­luigi Buf­fon quit in­ter­na­tional foot­ball as four-time cham­pi­ons Italy sen­sa­tion­ally missed out on their first World Cup fi­nals in 60 years af­ter a play­off de­feat to Swe­den on Mon­day.

Coach Gian Piero Ven­tura also said he would con­sider his fu­ture af­ter the Az­zuri drew 0-0 in the sec­ond leg of their tie with Swe­den, who qual­i­fied 1-0 on ag­gre­gate.

Ital­ian press called it an “apoc­a­lypse” for the team, who last failed to qual­ify for the 1958 World Cup and have played ev­ery other edi­tion apart from the in­au­gu­ral tour­na­ment in 1930.

“I’m not sorry for my­self but all of Ital­ian foot­ball, be­cause we failed at some­thing which also means some­thing on a so­cial level,” said an emo­tional Buf­fon as he con­firmed his re­tire­ment.

The 39-year-old goal­keeper, who lifted the 2006 World Cup in Ger­many, who had been hop­ing to com­pete in a record sixth World Cup.

Buf­fon, who has 175 in­ter­na­tional caps, had al­ready an­nounced that the World Cup fi­nals in Rus­sia would be his last.

But Ven­tura made no an­nounce­ment about his po­si­tion de­spite fail­ing to lead the 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 win­ners to their 19th World Cup.

The for­mer Torino coach said he would first talk to the Ital­ian fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion on his fu­ture.

“Re­sign? I don’t know. I have to eval­u­ate an in­fin­ity of things. I have not yet spo­ken to the pres­i­dent,” said Ven­tura. “It doesn’t de­pend on me, I’m not in the state of mind to face this ques­tion.”

“It’s a very heavy re­sult to bear, be­cause I was ab­so­lutely con­vinced that we had this fe­ro­cious de­sire to over­come the ob­sta­cle.

The game at Mi­lan’s San Siro sta­dium wit­nessed a gen­er­a­tional shift for Italy, with Buf­fon and fel­low 2006 veter­ans An­drea Barza­gli and Daniele De Rossi all quit­ting the team, while Gior­gio Chiellini also hung up his Az­zurri jer­sey.

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