Did you know that for the first time since 1958 the Italian national team which that has won the World Cup four times will not be participating in the World Cup?
The failure of Italy’s national soccer team on Monday night to qualify for the World Cup seems to be adding to the list of tragedies which have befallen Italy in the last 60 years.
The soccer-crazed nation, had already lost the first match against Sweden in a two-leg playoff and needed more than Monday’s 0-0 tie in the return match to qualify for soccer’s premier tournament for national teams, which will be held in Russia in 2018.
Italy exited the last World Cup in the first round, a setback that had already prompted anxiety about the future of Italian soccer. But for a country that puts the game so central to its national identity, Monday night’s humiliation prompted an existential crisis.
According to the New York Times, Cultural commentators said the result at the San Siro stadium in Milan reflected the failure of Italian society to move forward into modernity. They said it resulted from the rot and corruption in the Italian Football Federation. Some politicians blamed immigration.
The BBC estimates that the national team will miss out on 100m euros in potential revenue by failing to qualify for the World Cup. Bonuses from sponsors, TV and prize money will go untapped. The (Italian Football Federation) FIGC’s bargaining position with Puma and other sponsors will be weakened when they next sit round the negotiating table.
The three remaining members of Italy’s 2006 World Cup success, Gianluigi Buffon, De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli, all announced their international retirement on Monday.