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It was a weekend for gallows humour in Italy.
Celtic defender Mikael Lustig appeared to swear at Italy fans during Sweden's World Cup play-off victory.
The Italian Football Federation has sacked Gian Piero Ventura as manager after the 1-0 aggregate defeat by Sweden in the World Cup play-offs meant the national team failed to qualify for the finals for the first time in 60 years.
Apocalypse, how? The Italian Football Federation’s president, Carlo Tavecchio, had defined the prospect of missing out on the 2018 World Cup as a disaster of biblical proportions.
Celtic defender Mikael Lustig was part of Sweden's side in their qualifier against Italy.
Given one last chance to seize a place at the World Cup Italy pressed, they pushed, but they could not prevail, and as a result next summer’s tournament will take place without them. It is their first such failure in six decades, the Azzurri joining Holland as Europe’s most notable qualifying failures. Both of them were eliminated by Sweden, whose route to Russia has been far from straightforward.
A deflected Jakob Johansson strike was enough to earn Sweden a first-leg advantage and leave Italy on the brink of missing out on a first World Cup since 1958. Giampiero Ventura’s side were listless throughout and, unless they overturn the deficit at the San Siro on Monday, they will miss out on reaching the finals in Russia next year.
The former Juventus, Milan and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has announced his retirement from football at the age of 38.