When preparing to deliver the very last corner kick in Italy-Sweden, just moments before referee Mateu Lahoz blew the final whistle, Alessandro Florenzi kissed the ball. He put all his hopes, as well as one nation’s hopes, into that ball. It didn’t work. The Swedish fort held a few seconds more, and the score remained set on 0-0. Italy failed to overturn their 0-1 loss from three days ago in Solna, and missed the last train to Russia.
Italy lost 0-1 to Sweden in the first leg of their World Cup playoff match, making their road to Russia extremely complicated. While the goal that put the Suedes ahead originated from a Daniele De Rossi’s unfortunate deflection on a shot by Jakob Johansson, the Azzurri never gave the impression of being able to pose any real threat to the opponents’ goal.