Italy fails to net 2018 World Cup spot
(TNS) — Sweden held Italy to a 0-0 draw in Milan on Monday to qualify for the 2018 soccer World Cup on aggregate, eliminating the four-time world champions in a hard-fought playoff.
The result at the San Siro, in combination with Sweden’s 1-0 win in Stockholm on Saturday, means Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
The Azzurri were plagued by their recent lack of precision throughout the game. They managed their first shots on target late in the first half when Andreas Granqvist defended on the goal line after Ciro Immobile fired under the legs of goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who then stopped a shot that Alessandro Florenzi fired from the left.
The hosts’ poor finishing continued in the second half, despite bringing on strikers Andrea Belotti and Stephan El Shaarawy on 63 minutes for Matteo Darmian and Manolo Gabbiadini.