Gianluigi Buffon had the perfect farewell planned: Concluding his glorious international career exactly where it started, in Russia.
In a bonus sixth World Cup.
It wasn’t mean to be, though.
Two decades after making his Italy debut on a snowy field in Moscow in a World Cup playoff, Buffon was in the jersey in Milan on Monday in another playoff. But the Italians drew the game with Sweden and lost the playoff 1-0. Buffon, the captain, wore the hurt on his face.
“It is upsetting that my last match decided we didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” he said, wiping away tears.
In his record 175th appearance for Italy, Buffon was hardly tested and even ventured forward in a desperate attempt to score on two corners late in the match at San Siro. But four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Not for me, though, but for (Italy),” Buffon said. “I’m sorry that we failed at something that could have also been important on a social level. That’s the …read more