FEELING BLUE: Dejected Italy

Four-time World Cup winners Italy will watch next year’s tournament in Russia from home on their behinds. 
This after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the tournament when they were knocked out by Sweden in a European playoff on 
Monday night.
The Italians were unable to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit as the San Siro showdown finished goalless, meaning the manne in blue missed out on a World Cup spot for the first time since 1958.

SO SWEDE: Sweden celebrate qualification

 And legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who announced his retirement after 175 games,  knows they have made their naam gat.
The 39-year-old says: “I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football.
“We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.
“Those who’ve played know how hard these matches are. We weren’t able to express ourselves at our best. We lacked the composure to score.” 

The 2006 World Cup winner adds: “Playoffs are decided by episodes and they went against us but you can understand that when you’re at fault.
“We have pride, strength and we’re stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we’ve always done. 
“I’m leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I’ve shared this wonderful journey with.
“Blame is shared equally, between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats. Win together, lose together.”

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