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Buffon remains positive after Italy's failure

14 November 2017

Italy's streak of 14 consecutive World Cup appearances is snapped.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Sweden, who booked a place at next year´s tournament in Russian Federation with a 1-0 aggregate win on Monday. It sent them to the play-off and heads are sure to roll after the lacklustre performance against the Swedes.

"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football", BBC Sport quotes Buffon as saying. That is the only regret I have and certainly not that I am finishing my career, because time passes and it's only right.

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However, the veteran keeper said the future was bright for the Azzurri. "We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got". "I'm fully aware that this game is fundamental for us, but it's the same scenario as when I first signed to lead the national side", he continued.

"I want to give a big hug to everybody who has always supported me, like Chiello [Giorgio Chiellini], Barza [Andrea Barzagli], Leo [Bonucci], Lele [Gabriele Oriali, team manager] and everybody who's shared these past 10 years with me".

The 0-0 draw saw the continuation of an unusual quirk in World Cup qualifying.

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The anxiety levels went up to an entirely different level in the second half.

The last time Sweden qualified for the finals of the World Cup was in 2006, when the tournament was hosted in Germany.

For Sweden, they will be making a return to the World Cup after missing out in the 2010 and 2014 editions in South Africa and Brazil respectively.

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Buffon remains positive after Italy's failure