Sweden and Italy gear up for World Cup playoff clash

Jonathan Hernandez
November 14, 2017

Jakob Johansson's second half strike was enough to give their opponents a win at the Friends Arena in Stockholm and they will be defending their lead for their lives as qualification creeps tantalisingly closer at the San Siro.

The defeat brought the curtain down on the remarkable worldwide career of 39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was making his 175th appearance for his country.

The four-time champions had been present at every World Cup since 1958 - and Buffon himself since 1998 - and the 39-year-old's retirement from worldwide football was made prematurely on Monday night.

"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football", he said in an emotional post-match interview. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. That is the only regret I have and certainly not that I am finishing my career, because time passes and it's only right.

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

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.

However, the veteran keeper said the future was bright for the Azzurri.

"I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including Gigio Donnarumma and Mattia Perin". We know how to get back up again as we've always done. They made the Round of 16 in both 2006 and 2002, but since it's been a barren run for the Scandinavian nation who were unable to qualify for 2010 in South Africa or 2014 in Brazil.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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