World Cup qualifier match report Italy v Sweden 13 November 2017


Despite 64 per cent possession and ten shots on goal in the first leg, Italy failed to score away from home and things didn't improve when they returned to the San Siro.

With seconds left, Italy forced a corner, but when the final whistle blew there was nothing but a chorus of boos from the Italian supporters as their team's World Cup dreams were ended. "We have nothing to lose and we will go onto the pitch to give a great performance". "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful". That's why I keep talking about courage, about taking the initiative and go for it when we have the chance", said Sweden coach Janne Andersson.

"[Manager Gian Piero] Ventura is not the only one to blame".

The 25-year-old Jorginho was one of three changes to the team that had started in Stockholm, with Torino's Andrea Belotti, who played the first 65 minutes of the first leg and touched the ball five times, replaced by Southampton's Gabbiadini, and Roma's Alessandro Florenzi preferred to his club colleague Daniele De Rossi. I don't want to think it's the game of life but I'm convinced that, with the help of the fans, we will do it.

Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed his retirement from global play after Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. At that stage Italy were still optimistic: "I'm still sure we can qualify for the World Cup", Ventura said, "and we are not thinking about the apocalypse". Italy are meanwhile superstars having won the competition four times - 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 - and lost two finals in 1970 and 1994.

"Not for me, but for the football movement, because we failed something that could've been truly important for the country. The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant".

Too many first legs have been spoiled by negativity, so why not get rid of them altogether and have each playoff resolved over 90 minutes? Immbobile beat Olsen with another but Andreas Granqvist got back for a decisive goal-line clearance.