Italy, who have won the World Cup on four occasions, the last time in 2006, will be the most high profile absentee from the finals in Russian Federation next year. They last faced a play-off for World Cup qualification 20 years ago, when they narrowly overcame Russian Federation 1-0 on aggregate. It sent them to the play-off and heads are sure to roll after the lacklustre performance against the Swedes.
The result is a disaster for the Italian national team - which last missed the finals in 1958 - and for embattled coach Gian Piero Ventura, whose tactics and methods have been questioned by pundits and former players alike. "We failed at something which also means something on a social level".
"I've already faced similar situations in my career, sometimes I've succeeded, some other times I've failed".
However, the veteran keeper said the future was bright for the Azzurri.
"[But] there is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet. We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got".More news: Samsung CONFIRMS Galaxy A5 2018 Via Support Page
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While Pirlo acknowledges that the team "seemed frustrated", he insists that he is quietly confident of them getting through, saying: "I like this Italy". "Hugs to everyone, especially those I've shared this wonderful journey with".
The Azzurri found themselves in the two-legged playoff after finishing second in the UEFA qualifying group. But even in its most basic form, it would surely be better than the status quo, which sees officials castigated for honest mistakes and teams denied a place at the World Cup as a effect.
Sweden advanced to its first World Cup since 2006.
But Giampiero Ventura's players couldn't breach a resolute Sweden defence, indeed they struggled to create any meaningful chances as they were bounced out of the World Cup finals.