Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon 'confirms retirement from worldwide football'

Taylor Byrd
November 14, 2017

It would be easy to lay the blame squarely on Gian Piero Ventura.

The Italian football team will miss out on World Cup contention for the first time in sixty years, following a nil-all draw against Sweden in a do-or-die qualifying play-off.

The next chance Italy will have to qualify for a World Cup comes in 2022 when the event takes place in Qatar.

"It is certainly a moment of high tension, considering what is at stake and the sense of responsibility each of us must bear", said Buffon, who will earn his 175th cap in the San Siro.

Neither team was particularly impressive in the first leg of this matchup but Italy had a very disappointing display.

Four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades after losing its playoff to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate. It fared somewhat better at the European Championship, reaching the final in 2012 and going out in the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2016.

While Pirlo acknowledges that the team "seemed frustrated", he insists that he is quietly confident of them getting through, saying: "I like this Italy".

For a long time, Italy has lacked a creative force.

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.

Just 16 months ago, the Azzurri were only knocked out of Euro 2016 via a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Germany, but the upward trajectory started by Antonio Conte has not continued under Ventura, whose position appears untenable. Unfortunately for the Lazio frontman, he was forced to shoot from a tight angle and could only fire into the side-netting.

Jorginho's through ball found Immobile to pull back from the byline for Candreva to blast over, but Leonardo Bonucci, wearing a protective mask after breaking his nose on Friday, got a knock to the knee and was limping badly.

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