World best goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was in tears as Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 on Monday as they were held to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of their play-off at the San Siro by Sweden, who qualified with a 1-0 aggregate victory.
Gian Piero Ventura’s side dominated possession at the San Siro but could not find a way past Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who saved from Ciro Immobile and Alessandro Florenzi at the end of the first half and then denied Stephan El Shaarawy late in the game.
Sweden offered little in attack but held on to secure their first World Cup appearance since 2006.
There were emotional scenes at the end as the Swedes celebrated one of their greatest achievements in modern times.
39-year-old Buffon said: “It’s a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup.”
“I am not sorry for myself but all of Italian football.
“Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats.”
Buffon who made 175 appearances for his country in a 20-year career, lifting the World Cup in 2006 apologised to Italy fans while announcing his retirement from international duty.
Buffon’s Juventus team-mate Andrea Barzagli and Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi also ended their Italy careers, while Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini is expected to join them.