Reaction as Sweden beat Italy to Russia 2018

News that Italy will miss the World Cup for the first time in 60 years sent shockwaves around the footballing world on Tuesday.

The Azzurri, winners of the competition in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006, missed out after falling to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate over two legs of their playoff.

It marks only the second time the Italians will not be at the tournament since they declined to play in the inaugural edition in 1930. They also failed to qualify in 1958.

The defeat was also poignant as it was a last ever Italy appearance for legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has played at five World Cups. The 39-year star, making his 175th appearance between the sticks for Italy, confirmed his retirement after the loss.

“I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” said a teary Buffon after the game. “We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.”

Italian veterans and fellow World Cup winners Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli also announced their retirements.

The defeat also signalled the beginning of the end of Giampiero Ventura’s reign as Italy coach, the 69-year old refusing to speak to the media after the final whistle with reports saying he had resigned shortly afterwards. Although he later denied it.

The result saw immediate reaction online, most of it concerning the curtain coming down on the end of Buffon’s stellar career.

While some fans’ thoughts turned to his successor.

There wasn’t a lot of sympathy for Ventura.

While some fans didn’t forget to congratulate Sweden.

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