Sweden stand tall amid Italy onslaught to book place at Russia World Cup

Alessandro Florenzi of Italy reacts after loosing at the end of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Italy and Sweden at San Siro Stadium on November 13, 2017 in...

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.

Johansson sinks Italy to earn Sweden first-leg World Cup qualifier victory

Jakob Johansson of Sweden celebrates after scoring the opening goal with his team mates during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: First Leg between Sweden and Italy at Friends...

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.