A night to remember for Sweden as they qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia but catastrophe for Italy.
For the first time since 1958 the Azzurri will miss out on the finals – They failed to score in two legs against Sweden, enabling the Scandinavians to go through with a 1-0 aggregate playoff victory..
Italy’s Coach Gian Piero Ventura is contemplating his future: “When you have a bad result, even if this is a fair result or not, the responsibility lies with the coach, this is obvious.”
Emotions were running high among Italian fans as they left the San Siro stadium in Milan: “Ventura had a team that did not deserve to be on the field. The team could have done much, much better than this.”
“Italy doesn’t show the hunger, the will to win. Everybody was saying that we were strong, but it’s not true. Because Sweden is going through, and we go home.”
The Swedes, whose starting line-up included only four players based with teams in Europe’s so-called big five leagues, will take their place after qualifying for the first time since 2006.
Their coach Jan Andersson said the result bodes well for the future:
“This result shows us what we can do as a team. We worked as a compact squad during the whole play-off phase.”
Football purists may have thought the 0-0 match was scrappy but for Sweden the result couldn’t have been sweeter.