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Buffon retires from Italy duty after World Cup failure

14 November 2017

The 39-year-old, who made his Italy debut in October 1997, kept a clean sheet against Sweden at San Siro but his outfield team-mates failed to score the goals that could have overturned the Scandinavians' 1-0 advantage in the two-legged European play-off, as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The Juventus stopper, who is widely considered one of the best goalkeepers ever, has said he will retire from global duty once the current campaign ends.

The result means Juventus and Italy captain Gigi Buffon ends his worldwide career in humiliation.

Italy will not be at the World Cup in Russian Federation next summer.

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

With Sweden's qualification, 29 teams at the World Cup are now confirmed, with the winners of Ireland/Denmark, Australia/Honduras and Peru/New Zealand to be the final three into the tournament, with those games played on Wednesday morning, Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, respectively.

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But despite laying siege to the Scandinavian defence over 90 feverish minutes, Italy could not make the breakthrough and the goalless draw was enough for Sweden to reach Russian Federation 2018. Italy were lacking in imagination and flair and the failure to qualify for the first time since 1958 will nearly certainly see 69-year-old Ventura sacked by the Italian federation. Sweden are a solid side and their behavior will make little difference, it all depends on us. "There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes", Buffon said after the result.

"We know we've lost, but we have another 90 minutes to overcome this complicated situation".

The 0-0 draw saw the continuation of an unusual quirk in World Cup qualifying.

The Swedes won the first leg 1-0 in Solna thanks to a goal from Jakob Johansson and will be hoping to maintain that lead throughout the away tie.

The winners of the Italy-Sweden tie will join Switzerland and Croatia as qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 via the European play-offs.

Buffon retires from Italy duty after World Cup failure