The Swedes survived wave after wave of Italian attacks in the second leg of their European playoff tie on a night of unremitting tension and drama at a disbelieving San Siro.
Four-times champions Italy, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, penned the visitors into their own half for most of the game, and created a hatful of chances, but could not find a way past Robin Olsen in the Sweden goal.
The hosts, who enjoyed 75 percent of possession, had shots cleared off the line, others stopped by Olsen and penalty appeals turned down as they pressed desperately for a goal.
“We had no weapons left. We just had to sit there and hope
that we could hang on,” said
The closest Italy came to scoring was a Ciro Immobile effort, which was partially stopped by Olsen and cleared away by Victor Lindelof as it was about to trickle over the line.
The crowd’s support during the game quickly turned to hostility as boos rang around the stadium.
With this result, 39-year-old Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also announced his retirement from international football in his 175th match.