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Misfiring Italy fail to reach World Cup as Sweden go through

Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

But Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist believes they can cause a big upset in front of over 65,000 Italians.

Italy need to overturn a 1-0 playoff first-leg defeat against Sweden at the San Siro on Monday, if they want to avoid a potential national humiliation likened to the "apocalypse" by supporters.

Gianluigi Buffon fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from worldwide football following Italy's shock failure to qualify for Russian Federation 2018.

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"We can make no mistakes, we are focusing on what we must do to win but if we fail to qualify everybody should take the blame", the 39-year-old Juventus player said at the pre-match press conference.

Italy soccer team are out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after failing to beat Sweden in their World Cup Qualifying match.

Italy not lost competitive home game since 1999.

In the first leg played on Saturday, Ireland forced Denmark to a 0-0 draw.

"I expect a full San Siro to carry this team through". Ludwig Augustinsson's challenge on Parolo may have been a 50-50 call, but Darmian was clearly foulded by Mikael Lustig.

As we saw during the Confederations Cup earlier this year, VAR is not flawless and there are still kinks to be ironed out. "It would be a great satisfaction to qualify for the World Cup".

This will be only the second World Cup missed by Italy.

But the series of playoff games for Russian Federation 2018 have seen fear of failure drown out ambition, leading to some desperately tiresome encounters and precious few goals.

Trailing 1-0 on aggregate to a Jakob Johansson goal scored in Friday's first leg in Stockholm, Giampiero Ventura's Azzurri were cheered on by nearly 72,000 Italian fans in Milan. The closest Italy came to an actual goal was when Florenzi crossed and Lustig's header looped on to his own bar.

If the playoffs are being dulled by the determination to shut out the opposition, perhaps it is time for Federation Internationale de Football Association to update the format.