Italy went down to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg in Stockholm on Friday, and must overturn that deficit tonight at San Siro in Milan to avoid missing their first World Cup in 60 years. Italy has participated in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament.
Three quick thoughts from Italy's 0-0 draw with Sweden in the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff that sees the Swedes qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation.
Sweden had fallen at the same stage four years ago, beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo and...
It could have been worse for Italy, as Sweden was denied what looked like two clear-cut penalties for handballs, first by Matteo Darmian and then Andrea Barzagli.
Jorginho created Italy's best opportunities with two throughballs for Ciro Immobile, who hit the netting from a tight angle from one.
Consequently, unless Italy turn things around, tonight will be the last game he plays for his national side, bringing an end to a glittering career at global level that included a World Cup triumph in 2006. Prior to that, they had only missed the first edition of the event in 1930 in Uruguay, which they did not enter.
But why do we want Italy to qualify? I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn't enough, I hope that we gave them something. "We invite them to support us, but realize the time has come for us to show them what we've got". "There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes", Buffon said after the result. "I'm fully aware that this game is fundamental for us, but it's the same scenario as when I first signed to lead the national side", he continued.
The 0-0 draw saw the continuation of an unusual quirk in World Cup qualifying.
The draw means Sweden go through 1-0 on aggregate after winning the first-leg by the same scoreline.
What TV channel is Italy vs Sweden on?
The final play-off game will see Republic of Ireland host Denmark on Tuesday.