Buffon quits as Italy suffer World Cup 'apocalypse'

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Italy will not participate at the World Cup.

The Azzurri's run of consecutive tournament appearances stretches back further than the World Cup trophy itself.

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.

Joy abounded in the Sweden camp as Janne Andersson's side pulled off the first major shock of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ play-offs last night.

Italy's leading sports daily newspaper hailed the arrival of the "apocalypse" after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. I have to evaluate an infinity of things. Italy is slowly recovering from a prolonged recession, but most people say they see no sign of the pick-up, with wages stagnant and unemployment stuck above 11 percent.

The 39-year-old goalkeeper also confirmed it was his last worldwide appearance.

Talented deep-lying Italian playmaker Verratti will be sitting out the World Cup along with his national team colleagues after their play-off failure to Sweden.

This will be the second time the team will not play in the tournament.

Ventura, who is under contract until 2020, apologised after the match but the 69-year-old stopped short of resigning.

"I'll watch if I'm with friends who are watching, but otherwise I won't really care", said Giancarlo Esposito, a retired architect from Milan.

Ventura made four changes to the team which lost 1-0 in Stockholm on Friday in the first leg and which was fiercely criticised for its lack of flair in attack.

The embattled Ventura faced criticism during Italy's game from one of his own players, with veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi left aghast when he was asked to warm up. "We just had to sit there and hope that we could hang on", said Sweden coach Jan Andersson. "At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead".

"Wasted chances, a bit of bad luck but zero goals in 180 minutes against the Swedes, who will go to Russia", Gazzetta commented.

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