'A World Cup without Italy is like pizza without cheese'

Paola Ditto
Novembre 14, 2017

Italy's leading sports daily newspaper hailed the arrival of the "apocalypse" after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

"The players are not innocent either - not managing to score a single goal in two matches against Sweden is unforgivable". We have many heroes tonight.

Among the most heroic was Andreas Granqvist, Ibrahimovic's successor as captain, who was a colossal figure in central defence. "Not taking part in the Russia World Cup is an enormous slap in the face".

"It's a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup".

There was, however, a price to pay for the Sweden skipper, who was forced to honour a promise to his team-mates. "I just said we were near the end and had to win, so send the strikers to warm up". "I thought they'd forgotten it, but John [Guidetti] and "Vigge" [Victor] Lindelof shaved it off straight away!" "It doesn't depend on me, I'm not in the state of mind to face this question". We know how to get back up again as we've always done. "We believe in what we do and we help each other in every situation". However, despite dominating possession and having the best of the chances, it was not to be.

"We had no weapons left", Andersson admitted. "We just had to sit there and hope we could hang on".

After the game, midfielder Daniele De Rossi and defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli announced they would be retiring from worldwide competition - joining goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who previously said he would do so after the World Cup.

"This is incredible. This player stopped playing with Sweden a year and a half ago and we are still talking about him", Andersson told reporters. "We need to talk about the great players we have in this team".

The hashtag #Italiafuoridaimondiali - which translates to "Italy is out of the World Cup" - has been used more than 2,500 times, with many social media users reacting furiously to Italy coach Gianpiero Ventura, and President of the Italian Football Federation Carlo Tevecchio.

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