Sweden stun Italy to book World Cup return

The Crystal Palace boss was present as Sweden beat Italy 1-0 in World Cup play-off first leg

The Crystal Palace boss was present as Sweden beat Italy 1-0 in World Cup play-off first leg

Italy soccer team are out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after failing to beat Sweden in their World Cup Qualifying match.

Mario Balotelli was the star of Euro 2012 but fell out of favor after Italy's woeful showing at the last World Cup, and hasn't been called up by Ventura, while Conte selected him in only one squad.

By virtue of its 1-0 win on aggregate over the Italians, Sweden has now qualified for the 12th World Cup in the nation's history.

"The San Siro doesn't score, I've never seen a fan score", said Pirlo, a member of the 2006 World Cup-winning team who announced last week he was retiring from football.

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Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Sweden, who booked a place at next year´s tournament in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win on Monday.

Sweden held off Italy to advance to the 2018 World Cup, while the Italians failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.

Gianluigi Buffon fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from global football following Italy's shock failure to qualify for Russian Federation 2018.

Meanwhile, Sweden is absolutely cheering. The first rule is not to cry over it.

"It is certainly a moment of high tension, considering what is at stake and the sense of responsibility each of us must bear", said Buffon, who will earn his 175th cap in the San Siro.

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This will be only the second World Cup missed by Italy.

Despite the lack of goals, the game was full of action; each team were controversially denied two penalties by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

If the playoffs are being dulled by the determination to shut out the opposition, perhaps it is time for Federation Internationale de Football Association to update the format. "There are another 90 minutes and we want to make the most of it".

A mini tournament to decide who qualifies for the real thing?

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