14, November 2017
Tearful goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon ended his 20-year Italy career in the saddest possible way on Monday, November 13, with their first failure to qualify for the World Cup in 60 years.
The 39-year-old Buffon said after Monday’s goalless playoff draw against Sweden, which ended Italy’s hopes of going to Russia, would be the last of his 175 appearances.
Buffon made his full international debut in 1997 against Russia the last time Italy took part in a playoff to qualify for the World Cup. Then, they scraped through 2-1 on aggregate.
In 2006, he helped Italy win the World Cup in Germany, beating France in the final in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.
The 2010 and 2014 World Cups were less successful, Italy being eliminated in the group stages of the finals in South Africa and Brazil respectively, but Buffon remained with the team hoping for one last World Cup in Russia but it was not to be.