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Italy Miss First World Cup In 60 Years As Sweden Qualify

Italy Miss First World Cup In 60 Years As Sweden Qualify

Italy piled on the pressure in the second half in search of the goal that would send the tie to extra-time, with Stephan El Shaarawy's fierce volley forcing a late save from Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

Given one last chance to seize a place at next year's World Cup Italy produced a significantly improved performance but could not manufacture the goals they needed to overturn Sweden's first-leg advantage and win their qualifying play-off.

The Juventus stopper, who is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers ever, has said he will retire from worldwide duty once the current campaign ends.

The Azzurri still have undoubted quality in their ranks, with an assured presence in the form of goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon and younger talent such as midfielder Marco Verratti - although the 25-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star is suspended for tonight's game in Stockholm.

This is the first time since 1958 that Italy has failed to qualify.

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.

"We are not stressed, personally I am focused on the game and I hope fans will support us".

Italy, who are now ranked 15th in the world, had an ordinary qualification campaign, finishing second in their group. Sweden are a solid side and their behavior will make little difference, it all depends on us. "We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got". That is the only regret I have and certainly not that I am finishing my career, because time passes and it's only right.

What TV channel is Italy vs Sweden on?

Despite plenty of chances, Italy has been sent packing from the FIFA World Cup, unable to secure the goal they needed in the second leg of their play-off against Sweden.

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