Buffon quits as Italy suffer World Cup 'apocalypse'
MILAN – Agence France-Presse
Coach Gian Piero Ventura also said he would consider his future after the Azzuri drew 0-0 in the second leg of a tie with Sweden, which qualified 1-0 on aggregate.
"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football, because we failed at something which also means something on a social level," said an emotional Buffon as he confirmed his retirement.
The former Torino coach said he would first talk to the Italian federation president before making a decision on his future.
"Resign? I don't know. I have to evaluate an infinity of things. I have not yet spoken to the president," said Ventura. "It doesn't depend on me, I'm not in the state of mind to face this question.
"It's a very heavy result to bear, because I was absolutely convinced that we had this ferocious desire to overcome the obstacle."
The game at Milan's San Siro stadium witnessed a generational shift for Italy, with Buffon and fellow 2006 veterans Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all quitting the team, while Giorgio Chiellini also hung up his Azzurri jersey.
"The era of four or five veterans comes to a close, the one of the hungry young players coming through begins and that's how it should be," said Ventura, who took over from Chelsea coach Antonio Conte in 2016 with a contract until June 2020.
Ventura had made changes from Nov. 10's defeat with Brazil-born Jorginho making his Italy debut and Alessandro Florenzi and Manolo Gabbiadini also handed starts, although Napoli's in-form winger Lorenzo Insigne was again left on the bench.
As the clock ticked down, De Rossi was asked by Ventura to warm up but he pointed at Insigne instead.
"I just said we were near the end and had to win, so send the strikers to warm up," said De Rossi. "I pointed to Insigne too. I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead."
"Italy, this is the apocalypse," ran a headline on the website of sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Wasted chances, a bit of bad luck but zero goals in 180 minutes against the Swedes, who will go to Russia," Gazzetta commented.
"It is an intolerable football shame, an indelible stain," the newspaper said.
"It is over. Apocalypse, tragedy, catastrophe."