Berlin, November 14 – The shock over Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup reached far beyond the country itself, with papers and pundits chiming in from many other nations on Tuesday.
“Apocalypse Ciao,” titled Germany’s Bild paper on its website, saying “The proud Italians were suddenly made very small by the brave Swedes.”
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the night ended “in tears and silence” after a 0-0 draw against Sweden in Milan saw Italy lose the play-off tie 1-0 to miss a World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
“The motivation was there ahead of the game but motivation alone doesn’t win football matches,” the Munich paper added.
In Spain, whose team finished ahead of the Azzurri in the group stage to qualify directly, Marca spoke of “a historic fiasco” and said “Italy had no idea for the game” while Sport named the outcome “Italian reality.”
Like many others, the Spanish papers spoke fondly of iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who ended his international career after the game.
“Buffon doesn’t deserve this Italy,” Marca said, while AS added “A giant like Buffon doesn’t deserve such a farewell.”
In Britain, The Independent titled “Grazio Gigi” and also insisted that his reputation won’t be tarnished.
“It’s a measure of Buffon’s greatness that even his association with an event as traumatic as Italy missing out on the tournament for the first time in 60 years does nothing to tarnish his remarkable career,” the paper said.
Italy’s exit was also big news in the Netherlands, where Italy’s feelings sounded familiar as the Dutch also failed to make it to Russia.
“Following the Netherlands another major football nation is not at the World Cup. A national trauma is born, a shame,” NRC Handelsblad said.
The Allgemeen Dagblad said “Italy was the better team in front of a fanatic San Siro crowd, but without playing good football.”