Buffon announces retirement from international football

Buffon announces retirement from international football

- Italy missout on World Cup place after playoff loss to Sweden

- Giampiero Ventura's side eanred a goalless draw in the second leg

- Sweden defeated the Azzurri in the first leg 1 - 0 in Stockholm

- Buffon, De Rossi, Barzagli all retire from international duty after the game

Italy’s shock failure to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia proved to be the final international for Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Barzagli and Georgio Chiellini.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and a 1 - 0 aggregate loss to Sweden and join the likes of USA, Ivory Coast and Chile in failing to qualify for next year's competition in Russia.

Buffon announces retirement from international football

Buffon was left in tears after the game. Photo: Sky Sports Italia

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The 39-year-old Buffon called time on his 20-year, 175-cap career just after the others had announced their retirement.

“It is upsetting that my last match decided we didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” Buffon said. “I’m sorry. Not for me but for Italy. We blew something that could have meant so much. The only regret is that it ended like this.”

Buffon announces retirement from international football

Buffon shares a hug with Chiellini after the game. Photo: Super Sport

The Juventus goalkeeper who made his Italy debut in October 1997 added: "The blame is divided equally among all of us. There must be no scapegoats. We win together and we lose together."

On Italy's future, he said: “There’s definitely a future, because we have pride and strength. We’re stubborn and hard-headed.

"After ugly falls we find a way to rise back up. A lot of these kids are talented, including Gianluigi Donnarumma and Mattia Perin. I wish them a lot of luck.”

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Italy and Sweden played a scoreless tie in the second leg match on Monday at San Siro in Milan with Italy losing 1-0 on aggregate.

Sweden reaches its first World Cup since 2006. Italy is tied with Germany for the second-most World Cup titles, trailing Brazil, who has five.

Nigeria Super Eagles qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup on NAIJ.com TV;

Source: Sports.naija.ng

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