Buffon retires from Italy duty after World Cup failure

Giampiero Ventura and Italy must win at the San Siro

However, the Italians were unable to get on the scoresheet at the San Siro as the Swede's held on to a goalless draw.

The scenario of the four-time champions missing out on a place at Russian Federation 2018 has been described as "apocalyptic" by Italian FA chief Carlo Tavecchio, but is now a very real prospect.

"All or nothing", had screamed the front page of the Gazzetta dello Sport, which carried a picture of Italy's beleaguered coach, Gian Piero Ventura, looking to the heavens.

"We are Italy and, if we qualify, I would like to be able to say that we did it by playing football", Ventura said at the pre-match press conference.

For this final roll of the dice Ventura finally turned to Jorginho, the Napoli midfielder who had previously played 24 minutes of senior worldwide football and had not been considered worthy of a place in the squad since last May, 20 global matches ago.

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. Ventura has been widely criticized for his tactics throughout the qualifying campaign, with seemingly arbitrary changes in formation, often ranging from an all-out attacking stance to a cagey defensive approach.

Gianluigi Buffon suggests that he has retired from worldwide football following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Italy had the bad luck of being drawn into the same group as Spain.

The absence of the Italians is the more momentous event, given that they have won the trophy four times and last failed to reach the tournament in 1958. They pressed, they pushed, but they could not prevail, and as a result will miss out on next year's tournament in Russian Federation, their first such failure in six decades.

Italy are out of the World Cup after tonight's 0-0 draw with Sweden. They made the Round of 16 in both 2006 and 2002, but since it's been a barren run for the Scandinavian nation who were unable to qualify for 2010 in South Africa or 2014 in Brazil. Italy were lacking in imagination and flair and the failure to qualify for the first time since 1958 will nearly certainly see 69-year-old Ventura sacked by the Italian federation. I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn't enough, I hope that we gave them something. But the Azzurri also struggled to carve out clear chances against a solid Sweden side.

Alessandro Florenzi tried an audacious volley that went a foot wide of Olsen's post, while Immobile came close at the near post but, ultimately, the Azzurri found no solutions to get back into the tie, and will miss out on the world finals for the first time in 60 years. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes. I don't want to think it's the game of life but I'm convinced that, with the help of the fans, we will do it. My situation is not important at the moment.

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

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