Buck up, Team USA. Sure, the U.S. men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time since 1986, eliminated by Trinidad and Tobago, but on Monday, powerhouse Italy lost its do-or-die qualifying match with Sweden, meaning the Azzurri will miss their first World Cup tournament since 1958. Within hours of the 0-0 tie (leaving Sweden a 1-0 lead in the two-game series), Italy’s coach, Piero Ventura, resigned. “I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” said goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 39, who played in the last five World Cups, including in 2006, when Italy won. Italy has played in 18 World Cups, tying Germany and two behind Brazil.
Italy and the U.S. aren’t the only surprise losers in this World Cup qualifying season. Also missing in 2018 will be the Netherlands, runners-up in 2010; African powerhouse Ghana; and Chile, 2015 and 2016 Copa America champions. Of the 32 slots in the World Cup tournament, 29 have already been filled. The final three will go to either Ireland or Denmark, Australia or Honduras, and New Zealand or Peru.
Source:: The Week – Lifestyle