By far the biggest team to miss out on the ticket to the World Cup 2018 is Italy, as the four time winners of the competition failed qualify since 1958 after a play off defeat to Sweden on Monday
Trailing 1-0 from Friday’s first leg in Stockholm, Giampiero Ventura’s side were unable to break down a resilient Sweden, who kept out the Italians to earn a spot in the World Cup draw on December 1st.
The Netherlands, another great football nation will also be absent in next summer’s World Cup after failing to qualify for their second straight major tournament.
Holland required a seven goal margin against Sweden in Amsterdam last month, but instead managed a 2-0 victory, which wasn’t enough to take them through.
This was a shadow of what the Dutch once were seven years ago when they reached the World Cup 2010 finals in South Africa, where they lost 1-0 to Spain in extra time.
The Netherlands also went on to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil dominating the group matches and inflicting a memorable 2-1 victory over Spain.
It is incredible to Imagine neither Netherlands (World No.20) – who came close to winning the 2010 World Cup, nor Italy (World No.15) – who won the tournament back in 2006 will be playing in next summer’s tournament.
After both teams suffered devastating World Cup failure, some of their senior players announced their retirement from international football. Most notably Hollands Arjen Robben 33 and Giunluigi Buffon 39 – who was gutted with his final game for his country.
A tearful Buffon said: “It’s a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup”.
Next summer’s festive World Cup in Russia will be without a host of big names, such as Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal – who lost 3-0 to Brazil and were relying on other results that did not go their way.
Also Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey will not feature on the big international stage, as Wales dreams of qualifying were shattered by a 2-1 home defeat to Republic of Ireland.
These 18 months of qualifiers have been a surprising turn of events, following controversial decisions, which led to Panama’s first ever World Cup and Sweden’s magnificent performance that resulted in Holland and Italy’s demise.
Although Sweden failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, they will look to make a mark in next summer’s tournament, with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the cards after retiring from international duties last year. The Manchester United striker would relish the chance to make a final World Cup appearance, as he missed the last 2 due to Sweden failing to qualify.