Italy has failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958

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Italy has failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The four-time world champions were knocked out of contention after drawing 0-0 in a qualifying match against Sweden.

It will be only the second time that the team has not played in the Cup — having declined to play at the inaugural tournament in 1930.

Following the match, an emotional Captain Gianluigi Buffon said: “I am not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level.

“Those who’ve played know how hard these matches are. We weren’t able to express ourselves at our best. We lacked the composure to score. Play-offs are decided by episodes and they went against us but you can understand that when you’re at fault.

“We have pride, strength and we’re stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we’ve always done. I’m leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I’ve shared this wonderful journey with.

“Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats. Win together, lose together.”

The 39-year-old goalkeeper also confirmed it was his last international appearance.

Meanwhile it will be the first time the Swedes have qualified since 2006.

Their on-field celebrations proved too much for the Eurosport news desk, which they tackled and subsequently broke.

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