‘This is the apocalypse’: Italian press mourns nation’s World Cup exit

• Sweden stalemate means Italy fail to qualify for first time in 60 years
• Speculation rife over successor to head coach Gian Piero Ventura

“Italy, this is the apocalypse,” was the headline in the country’s leading sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday morning, perhaps an understandable reaction for a nation whose passion for football is so great that the same publication concluded that “a love so great must be reserved for other things [than the World Cup]”.

Put in context the facts make stark reading. Italy’s abject failure in front of goal against Sweden, who held the Azzurri to a 0-0 draw in the San Siro stadium, meant the hosts lost 1-0 on aggregate and failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time in 60 years, when in 1958 the finals were, appropriately, hosted by the team who halted their progress on Monday.

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