Gianluigi Buffon: We have failed Italy by not qualifying for World Cup

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said the national team had failed the country by not qualifying for the World Cup following their 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in the play-off on Monday.

The 39-year-old also confirmed his retirement from international football following the Azzurri’s failure at the San Siro.

An emotional Buffon said: “I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.

“We have pride, strength and we’re stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we’ve always done. I’m leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I’ve shared this wonderful journey with.

“Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats. Win together, lose together.”

The Juventus goalkeeper, who made his Italy debut in October 1997, kept a clean sheet against Sweden at San Siro but his outfield team-mates failed to score the goals that could have overturned the Scandinavians’ 1-0 advantage in the two-legged European play-off, as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

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