Italy creates 'lost generation' of soccer stars with 2018 World Cup miss

Italy creates 'lost generation' of soccer stars with 2018 World Cup miss

Buffon's Juventus teammate Andrea Barzagli also announced his retirement, as did Roma legend Daniele de Rossi.

President Giovanni Malagò has called on Italian Football Federation (FIGC) head Carlo Tavecchio to resign after the nation's shock failure to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia. The fact was that the elder members of the squad knew that it was time for them to be replaced by a new generation, confirmed by a speight of global retirements after the match.

And after beating Italy 1-0 on aggregate in the playoffs for the 2018 World Cup, Sweden is yet again Italian soccer fans' least favorite country.

Italy's run of bad luck with Sweden dates all the way back to 1950 when, having won the previous two World Cups, it suffered its first ever defeat in the tournament - at the hands of the Swedes. [Leonardo] Bonucci or also [Daniele] De Rossi or the others. But their plans got cut short. The era of four or five veterans comes to a close and the one of the hungry young players coming through begins.

Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman were both 20 when they helped France reach the final of last year's European Championship and 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe and 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele are also now key members of Didier Deschamps' squad. "Now comes this glaring result and everyone starts shouting".

A number of renowned national teams with dozens of star players failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Jakob Johansson's deflected effort just after the hour mark proved enough to send Sweden to the World Cup at the expense of Italy, who were unable to overturn the deficit in the return fixture.

It was widely considered a tactical blunder by Ventura and further underlined Italy's malaise. "This is how the worldwide spotlight transforms into something negative and how our jewels don't become utilized".

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