Four-time world champions Italy will not be at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation following their 0-0 home draw against Sweden in the second leg of their European play-off qualifier on Monday.
Italy, a four-time World Cup champion, had a penalty appeal of its own waved off by the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz, when Marco Parolo was tripped from behind by Ludwig Augsustinsson. "We just had to sit there and hope that we could hang on", he said.
Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura blamed bad luck and the referee for Friday's defeat in Stockholm.
The 39-year-old Buffon - bidding to reach a record sixth World Cup Finals in Russian Federation - is one of the last survivors of Italy's golden generation of 2006 World Cup winners.More news: The Millennium Falcon Is Hidden Near a Golf Course in Rural England
Honduras and Australia will play off in Sydney on Wednesday after a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their tie, while two-legged clashes between Ireland and Denmark and Peru and New Zealand lie identically poised after their respective first legs.
But former Italy worldwide Andrea Pirlo believes it is unsafe for the four-time World Cup winners to rely too heavily on the atmosphere generated by 65,000 frenetic fans in the San Siro.
The defeat brought the curtain down on the remarkable global career of 39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was making his 175th appearance for his country. "I'm fully aware that this game is fundamental for us, but it's the same scenario as when I first signed to lead the national side", he continued.
This is the first time since 1958 that Italy has failed to qualify. "We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got".