Italy out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

Just 11 years after winning the World Cup is Italian Football now in the middle of a crisis period?

Italy must not panic as they bid to avoid missing a World Cup for the first time in 60 years, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said after a 1-0 play-off first-leg defeat by Sweden pushed them to the brink of disaster.

"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.

"It will be tough for coach Gian Piero Ventura to find the right words to say to the group".

Ventura could only lead Italy to a second-place finish in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group G, finishing five points behind group winners Spain and setting up a play-off with the Swedes to reach Russian Federation.

But despite laying siege to the Scandinavian defence over 90 feverish minutes, Italy could not make the breakthrough and the goalless draw was enough for Sweden to reach Russian Federation 2018.

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For Sweden, they will be making a return to the World Cup after missing out in the 2010 and 2014 editions in South Africa and Brazil respectively. I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn't enough, I hope that we gave them something. The game means a lot for all of us, not only for me.

Sweden came in second place in the 1958 World Cup.

"We know we can win this game, we dream to qualify for the World Cup, it's an important game for us and for the history of the national team". But even in its most basic form, it would surely be better than the status quo, which sees officials castigated for honest mistakes and teams denied a place at the World Cup as a outcome.

You can listen to Italy v Sweden in the World Cup play-off second leg live on talkSPORT2, on Monday, November 13 from 19:45.

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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