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Hugely emotional Gianluigi Buffon applauds Sweden's national anthem

13 November 2017

"The first-leg performance shows that we are perfectly capable of overturning the 1-0 result".

Despite defeat in Friday's first-leg, the Azzurri are chalked up as Betfair Sportsbook's 1/2 (1.50) favourites to claim the victory that they crave at San Siro, while the odds compilers offer even money (2.0) that Ventura's team turn the tie around and take their place at next summer's showpiece at Sweden's expense.

The first is that the four-time world champions fail to qualify for Russian Federation 2018 and a curtain falls on the worldwide careers of half the team, including Daniele De Rossi, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and the icon that is Gianluigi Buffon. They last faced a play-off for World Cup qualification 20 years ago, when they narrowly overcame Russian Federation 1-0 on aggregate.

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Including the loss to Spain and Friday's defeat to Sweden, Italy has scored just 3 goals in 5 qualifying games and now they must score at least one while not conceding in order to stand any chance of making it Russian Federation 2018.

Marco Verratti is suspended for Monday's game with Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci wearing a protective mask after breaking his nose in a bruising first leg against Sweden in Stockholm.

Italy not lost competitive home game since 1999. Now I hope that at San Siro they allow us what the referee allowed them tonight.

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Buffon, who is retiring at the end of the season, says that while there is tension ahead of the game, it's good tension. "The only thing that I would have would be a personal satisfaction, but in the wider scheme of things, I am irrelevant". Prior to that, they had only missed the first edition of the event in 1930 in Uruguay, which they did not enter.

"We know we can win this game, we dream to qualify for the World Cup, it's an important game for us and for the history of the national team". Sweden are a solid side and their behavior will make little difference, it all depends on us.

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Hugely emotional Gianluigi Buffon applauds Sweden's national anthem