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Mighty Italy Fail To Reach World Cup As Sweden Go Through

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ITALY FAILED TO REACH WORLD CUP 2018

Four-time champions Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after a play-off defeat against Sweden.

It means the Azzurri will not be present in the competition for only the second time in their history having declined to play at the inaugural tournament in 1930.

Midfielder Jakob Johansson’s deflected strike in the first leg was the difference as the second leg at Milan’s San Siro stadium ended goalless.

Sweden sat back on their advantage and, despite the hosts enjoying 75% possession, they failed to find the breakthrough – their best chance saw goalkeeper Robin Olsen palm away substitute Stephan El Shaarawy’s thumping volley late on.

Striker Ciro Immobile missed a number of chances and his low effort in the first half was cleared off the line by centre-back Andreas Granqvist.

The result sees Jan Andersson’s Sweden side to reach the World Cup for the first time since 2006 when they were in the same group as England.

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