Could Zlatan come out of retirement for 2018 World Cup?

Gianluigi Buffon retired from international football following the failure to reach the 2018 World Cup

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw on Monday by a defiant Sweden, which booked a place at next year's finals in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win.

Joy abounded in the Sweden camp as Janne Andersson's side pulled off the first major shock of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russiaâ„¢ play-offs last night. "For those of us that are older, this is probably the last chance to play at a World Cup, so to succeed in these circumstances is an unbelievable joy". I have to evaluate an infinity of things. "I cried a few tears", Andersson said after his players had left to continue their celebrations on the pitch. I am a bit moved but obviously very happy with the result.

"I said to the lads in the dressing room that if we got to the World Cup they could shave it off". BBC's Matthew Kenyon goes over the 39-year-old's other impressive stats.

Another Rome resident Enrico Doddi summed up the national disappointment, saying: "You can not have a good World Cup without Italy".

Giampiero Ventura, the Italy head coach, resigned after the final whistle but only after his decisions provoked a protest from one of the Azzurri's most-experienced global players.

"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 was a huge ask of the Brazil-born player who had not previously played a competitive game for Italy. "I pointed to Insigne too. At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead".

Failure to qualify has heaped pressure on Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura, with the sport daily Corriere dello Sport calling for him to step down, while the headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport read "Italy, this is the apocalypse".



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