Wednesday, November 22, 2017 07:00:46 PM
AFP, Rome :
Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years was greeted by a mixture of disbelief, dismay and resigned disappointment by fans across the country.
In Rome's trendy San Lorenzo district, the Le Mura bar, which showed Monday night's playoff crunch with Sweden on a big screen, emptied at the final whistle after a goalless stalemate which condemned the Azzurri to a 1-0 aggregate defeat.
"It is really very sad because watching the World Cup was something that really brought us together as Italians," said recent graduate Stefania Pusateri, heading for the exit.
"But what is sure is that the shock will be even worse for my father. He is 54 years old and he has never had to go through something like this."
Sitting alongside Pusateri, friend Davide Penna concurred. "I still can't believe it has happened," he said. "We have never experienced anything like this. It's over."
Similar sentiments were voiced by fans coming out of the San Siro stadium in Milan after Monday's 0-0 draw.
"I am disappointed with the whole football system in Italy," said Mirko Palmieri. "It is the umpteenth failure of our country. Even here (at the San Siro), we can't get the job done."
Italy not being at the World Cup will be a new experience for most of the country's fans, and few of them are looking forward to the experience of watching from the sidelines.
The four-time champions opted not to play at the first World Cup in 1930 but they have been present at every other edition apart from 1958, when they also failed to qualify.
"I was born with Italy being a part of the World Cup, and it has always been like that," one supporter told AFP on his way out of the Milan stadium.
"Tomorrow I will wake up and my life will go on but this summer I will do something else."
Another added: "The disappointment is a double one -- first because we are not good, but second because we were beaten by a team that is even worse than us."
- 'Completely unthinkable' -
Back in the Rome bar, the view that Italy deserved to be on the plane to Russia was disputed by journalism student Christian Dalenz.
"The reality is they were not good enough, they haven't earned the right to be at the World Cup. This is a very weak squad. It just does not have enough world-class players who can make the difference."
The extent of the shock that non-qualification represents for Italian football was underlined by the pre-match confidence of most fans that Gigi Buffon and co. would pull through.
"It is not as if Sweden are that strong a team," Fabio Votano, a Roman who was only a toddler when Italy last missed out on a World Cup finals, had told AFPTV hours before kick-off.
"Not winning is completely unthinkable, basically something that has never happened before. For Italy, getting to the World Cup finals is almost a duty."
Italy ended up in the playoffs as a result of finishing second in their qualifying group behind Spain.
They then put in a sluggish performance in the first leg in Sweden, when the home side edged a scrappy, physical affair thanks to substitute Jakob Johansson's deflected shot just after the hour mark.
Rome resident Enrico Doddi insisted Italy's players were good enough to have overcome Sweden.
"They're playing miserably at the moment but Italy still has a good set of players in my opinion," he said. "It is all down to mentality.
THE High Court ordered hospitals and clinics not to hold body of a deceased if his or her family fails to immediately pay the medical bill to release the body. It has also asked the Health Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Health Services to issue a ...
Reuters, Moscow :Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to talk about the need to move from military operations to the search for a political solution to Syria's conflict, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.Russia is actively trying to build an international consensus around a peace deal for Syria, ...
AFP, New Delhi :Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova is under investigation in India for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed, police and a lawyer said Tuesday.The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions of dollars from homebuyers ...
Janhvi Kapoor who is all set mark her Bollywood debut with Karan Johar’s Dhadak opposite Ishaan Khatter makes a dazzling entry at 48th IFFI 2017 in Goa. Janhvi was accompanied by her mother Sridevi and father Boney Kapoor. Janhvi looked elegant wearing Anamika Khanna lehenga choli. It is probably Janhvi’s ...
President M Abdul Hamid on Tuesday asked the members of Armed Forces to uphold their image at national and international levels by ensuing utmost professionalism. "Uphold the image of the armed forces . . . Help continue the country's ongoing development trend in the days to come," President's Press Secretary ...
MEDIA reports said an increasing number of poultry feed mills using dangerously toxic tannery wastes laced with poisonous chemicals as raw materials remain the biggest threat to public health. They are moreover flouting is a ban of the High Court for producing and marketing the toxic feed for animals which ...
Reuters, Moscow :Poised to run for a fourth term, President Vladimir Putin has started clearing out the old Russian political elite and says he's bringing in young people with "fire in their eyes."But a Reuters analysis shows that he has made limited progress so far.In the run up to March ...
After a wait of 17 long years, Indian model Manushi Chhillar has won the Miss World crown. Since yesterday’s announcement, many Bollywood celebs and public figures have congratulated her on winning the prestigious event. Here are some endearing messages from Bollywood celebs: The Megastar of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan congratulated Manushi ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Most of her colleagues always appreciate the acting of Runa Khan. There is no other alternative or choice of her in TV plays. So she has acceptability among the directors. Viewers also like her acting. Runa will entertain the viewers by virtue of her acting skill with ...
THE state-owned power plants can't generate electricity to a minimum of their stated capacity as they lack improved technology, besides management failure to achieve the highest output as per a report in The New Nation on Sunday. The report quoting Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said its power plants can ...
AP, Paris :Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a crisis in Lebanon.Hariri and his family met Saturday ...