Italy Failed To Qualify For World Cup 2018 And It’s The End Of The Buffon Era

For the first time in 60 years and 14 straight appearances Italy will miss the greatest spectacle in soccer. As an Italian Canadian I’m still in shock and I have no words! Well actually I have a few! I always do! lol Like millions and millions of Italian soccer fans I am sad and disappointed and completely crushed with the results of the game Monday afternoon in Milan but I keep telling myself it’s just a sport and I shouldn’t take it too seriously but that is easier said than done. A nil nil draw today and a 0-1 loss on aggregate goals. Congrats to Sweden who advance for the first time since 2006. Italy has been eliminated and failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. It’s heartbreaking for every Italian worldwide and an embarrassment for the 4-Time World Champions. It’s the end of an era after 175 cap International matches for 39 year old legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who will not appear in his 6th Coppa del Mondo in June 2018 and has retired from the National Team. Buffon didn’t blame the elimination on anyone and said “We win together and we lose together.” The man is a class act on and off the field and true icon. In an interview after the game holding back tears Buffon said ‘I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.’ It’s a shame it had to end like this without a qualification birth in Russia. Hopefully Gigi will stay with the team in some capacity and serve as a mentor for future generations. 18 year old Gianluigi Donnarumma and 25 year old Mattia Perin are possible successors to the great one. Buffon will continue to play for Juventus this season chasing a 7th Serie A Championship in a row and he is looking for his first ever UEFA Champions League crown. Italians are proud of his contributions and accomplishments and led Italy to a World Cup victory in 2006. Some reports say Coach Gian Piero Ventura announced his resignation while others say it’s not official.  He said “I’m not resigning because I haven’t spoken with the (federation) president, We need to evaluate things. We’ll see. I’ll talk with the federation and confront the problem. I feel I have to apologize to Italians for the result.’  Chiellini, DeRossi and Barzagli are expected to retire from the National team. Italy will have to rebuild the once mighty soccer power house and attempt to restore the former glory in future tournaments including Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022, Good luck to the 32 teams that have qualified. Who do you think will win World Cup 2018 in Russia? Will it be the reigning Euro Champs Portugal or will Germany repeat their 2014 success or will Spain, Brazil or Argentina once again reign supreme or will another nation rise to the top of the soccer mountain? Join the conversation with your predictions on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Feature Photo: Getty Images

Video from Cas del Futbol via Twitter


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