Buffon retires from Italy duty after World Cup failure

Buffon reacts during Italy’s second leg draw in their vital play-off against Sweden

For the first time in 60 years Italy will not be taking part in the 2018 World Cup football finals in Russian Federation. Sweden, for their part, are returning to the global stage after missing out on the 2010 and 2014 editions.

"Disaster", "nightmare", "humiliation", were just a few of the words splashed across the front pages of Italian newspapers to describe the shock of the team's elimination at the hands of a little-fancied Sweden in Milan.

"The era of four or five veterans comes to a close, the one of the hungry young players coming through begins and that's how it should be", said Ventura, who took over from Chelsea coach Antonio Conte in 2016 with a contract until June 2020. "It's indescribable. We have many heroes tonight".

Among the most heroic was Andreas Granqvist, Ibrahimovic's successor as captain, who was a colossal figure in central defence.

"Guys, we didn't lose the World Cup today [Monday]".

"This is the biggest thing that has happened to me", admitted Granqvist, who collapsed to the ground in tears at the sound of the final whistle.

"It's just a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup".

There was, however, a price to pay for the Sweden skipper, who was forced to honour a promise to his team-mates. "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful". "I thought they'd forgotten it, but John [Guidetti] and "Vigge" [Victor] Lindelof shaved it off straight away!"

Meanwhile it will be the first time the Swedes have qualified since 2006. "I'm proud to have met you and to have faced you many times".

Speaking after the game, Barzagli, 36, said it was painful, adding: "I don't know what we missed. We believe in what we do and we help each other in every situation".

"We had no weapons left".

De Rossi, like goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon, announced his retirement from global football after Italy's failure to earn a place in Russian Federation was confirmed. "We need to talk about the great players we have in this team". Their achievements were perhaps all the more impressive given that this campaign was their first since the global retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the greatest - if not the greatest - Swedish player. [But] there is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination, and after bad tumbles we always find a way to get back on our feet.

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