“Black Moment”: Players Mourn After Italy Miss World Cup Spot
Players from both teams slumped to the ground, the Swedes in exhausted ecstasy, the Italians in losers' agony.
On a starry night in Milan, four-time champions Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Sweden advanced for the first time since 2006.
Despite three quarters of possession, Italy was stymied by a goalless draw in the second leg of their playoff on Monday and Sweden prevailed 1-0 on aggregate.
The Sweden players ran over to celebrate with the traveling fans, a sea of joyful yellow at San Siro. The Italians looked on in shock and disbelief or put their head in their hands as though it were too painful to watch.
Many of them were in tears, especially captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who played what he said was his last international after 20 years between the posts for the Azzurri.
Here’s a look at how the coach and players reacted to the loss.
It was a demonstration of how strong we are as a group. We have many heroes tonight. Obviously I’m somewhat taken over by emotions and obviously very happy. I am very happy but above all happy for these players. For many of them it was probably the last chance to get to the World Cup.Janne Andersson, Coach, Sweden
(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT in partnership with #MyRightToBreathe to find a solution to pollution. Send in your suggestions to email@example.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)