Italy fail to qualify for FIFA World Cup for first time in 60 years, Twitter erupts with emotional messages

The Azzurri will not be present in the competition for only the third time in their history

In a major turnaround in FIFA tournament, four-time champions Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after a play-off defeat against Sweden. Italy were held to a 0-0 draw. The result means the Azzurri will not be present in the competition for only the third time in their history, having declined to play at the inaugural tournament in 1930.

A tearful Gianluigi Buffon said he was “sorry for all of Italian football” as he led a wave of international retirements after a World Cup play-off defeat by Sweden.

Buffon, 39, said,

It’s a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup. Blame is shared equally among everyone. There can’t be scapegoats.

Buffon’s Juventus team-mate Andrea Barzagli and Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi ended their national team careers while Giorgio Chiellini is also expected to step away from the national team.

Goalkeeper Buffon made 175 appearances for his country in a 20-year-long career – lifting the World Cup in 2006 – and believes the future is still bright for the four-time world champions.

An emotional Buffon further said,

There is certainly a future for Italian football because we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet.

Italy’s manager Giampiero Ventura did not speak on national television after the defeat but arrived at a news conference 90 minutes after full time.

Here’s how Italy fans reacted on Twitter:

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. A total of 64 games will be played to decide the winner.