Italy Misses World Cup as Sweden Wins Playoff

Posted November 14, 2017

There are two possible narratives as Italy prepare for their World Cup date with destiny against Sweden in Milan on tonight.

Italy failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation as they were held to a goalless draw by Sweden at the San Siro on Monday night and crashed to a 1-0 aggregate loss in their playoff.

We lacked the energy and sharpness to score a goal, but at the end of the day Sweden played in much the same way as the first leg. 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.

Gian Piero Ventura will surely need to make some modifications to his lineup after such a poor performance in Stockholm.

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He added: "We want to send Italians a message not with words, but with action on the pitch". The Italy coach will naturally take the lion's share but the Azzurri's problems run much deeper. It fared somewhat better at the European Championship, reaching the final in 2012 and going out in the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2016.

This shouldn't make America feel any better, but there is a very, very petty part of me that can't help but relish watching an global titan like Italy struggle with the same kind of failure as the USMNT. The likes of Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti of the 2006 side could change a match with one moment of magic.

Italy are meanwhile superstars having won the competition four times - 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 - and lost two finals in 1970 and 1994. But while its defense forms the backbone of the Italy team, its midfield and attack are made up mainly of foreign players.

Jorginho's through ball found Immobile to pull back from the byline for Candreva to blast over, but Leonardo Bonucci, wearing a protective mask after breaking his nose on Friday, got a knock to the knee and was limping badly.