“Black Moment”: Players Mourn After Italy Miss World Cup Spot
 Italy’s Andrea Belotti is dejected after the World Cup qualifier match against Sweden.
Italy’s Andrea Belotti is dejected after the World Cup qualifier match against Sweden.(Photo: Reuters)

“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.

It’s a black moment for our game. Unfortunately there will be a lot of time to analyze it. The only thing I can say is that we showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics.
Daniele De Rossi, Midfielder, Italy

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.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is comforted by Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura.
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is comforted by Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura.
(Photo: AP)
I feel I have to apologize to Italians for the result.
Gian Piero Ventura, Coach, Italy
It is upsetting that my last match decided we didn’t qualify for the World Cup. I’m sorry. Not for me, though, but for (Italy).
Gianluigi Buffon, Retiring Captain, Italy
At end we deserved it, because I’m not someone who believes in luck. We gave everything we had. They deserved it more. We all need to look within and find a way to bounce back. We need to get back to the level we deserve to be at.
Giorgio Chiellini, Defender, Italy
Not going to the World Cup is tragic.
Federico Bernardeschi, Winger, Italy
Nobody wanted this.
Manolo Gabbiadini, Forward, Italy
Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, left, and Manolo Gabbiadini react to their team’s elimination. 
Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, left, and Manolo Gabbiadini react to their team’s elimination. 
(Photo: AP)
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

Also Read: For First Time in 60 Years, Italy Fail to Qualify for World Cup

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