Rusia llora con Buffon por ausencia de Italia del Mundial
Italy knocked out of World Cup by Sweden after stalemate

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SAN PETERSBURGO.- La prensa rusa llora hoy desconsoladamente, al igual que Gianluigi Buffon, por la eliminación de Italia, un nuevo equipo grande que se perderá el Mundial que se disputará en este país en 2018.

“Perdónales, Buffon”, titula el “Sport-Express”, el principal diario deportivo ruso, que lamenta que el legendario guardameta no pueda cumplir su sueño de disputar su sexta Copa Mundial.

“Rusia fracasó, pero sólo llora Buffon”, señala en su portada el histórico “Sovetski Sport”, en alusión a las lágrimas vertidas por el portero del Juventus tras la eliminación ante Suecia.

La prensa rusa ya lamentó que Buffon no lograra alzarse con su primera Liga de Campeo­nes en mayo pasado ante el Real Madrid, pero esta derrota es más dolorosa, ya que hacia 60 años que los italianos no se perdían un Mundial.

Hasta Alexandr Mosto­vói, antiguo jugador del Cel­ta de Vigo y actual co­men- ­tarista en la televi­sión rusa, se mostró “impresionado” con la imagen de “un hombre de 40 años llorando”.

El comité organizador del Mundial cuenta las bajas, ya que antes se confirmó la ausencia de otra selección histórica, Ho­lan­da, por lo que Robben, otro futbolista muy admirado en este país, tampoco viajará a Rusia.

Dolió también la eliminación de Chile, que dejó una impronta imborrable en Rusia durante la Copa Confederaciones, tanto por su juego como por la pasión de sus aficionados.

En el plano positivo, la organización se libró de un problema con la ausencia de Ucrania, país con el que está enfrentada Rusia desde la anexión de Crimea de marzo de 2014.

Tampoco estarán Estados Unidos o Siria, países cuya presencia habría causado no pocos quebraderos de cabeza en términos de seguridad.

English

Italy have failed to make the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after they were held to a goalless draw by Sweden. The four-time winners had plenty of the ball but couldn’t overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit.

Italy 0-0 Sweden

As the seconds ticked down on Italy’s World Cup qualifying playoff with Sweden in Milan, the storied career of Gianluigi Buffon, the man who has been their last line of defense for 20 years, was suddenly coming to an end in the opposing penalty area.

The presence of the 39-year-old keeper at that end of the field was the telltale sign of the Azzurri’s ultimately fruitless desperation. This isn’t supposed to happen to them.

Buffon couldn’t get on the end of the corner, just as Italy’s outfield players couldn’t turn their territorial dominance into something tangible. At the final whistle, it was the men in yellow shirts who were running triumphantly around the San Siro while Buffon confirmed his 175th cap will be his last, and probably most painful.

The scoreless draw meant that Italy, who was forced into the playoff round after finishing second to Spain in their qualifying group, will not participate in a World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

“I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” he said through tears after the game. “We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.”

A scrappy, and at times tetchy, opening half was defined more by what didn’t happen than what did.

First Sweden’s Ludwig Augustinsson clumsily took down Marco Parolo from behind in the box on seven minutes before Emil Forsberg’s flick was handled by Italy’s Matteo Darmian at the other end five minutes later. Then Forsberg, who plays for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, had another penalty shout, this time after his pass struck Andrea Barzagli’s hand. All three could easily have been given but none were and Forsberg was booked for his protest.

As the half wore on, Italy saw more and more of the ball. Their pressure finally forced a pair of opportunities five minutes before the break. First the impressive Jorginho split the deep Swedish defense to find Ciro Immobile but the former Dortmund man could only hit then keeper on the turn, then Parolo nicked the ball off Immobile’s toes but blazed over.

The deadlock remained but Italy had built up a head of steam, with Manolo Gabbiadini denied by a last ditch block and Alessandro Florenzi drawing a smart save from Robin Olsen after a lovely piece of skill on the hosts’ left flank.