Italy were left heartbroken following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon waving a tearful goodbye shortly after the final whistle sounded. The legendary stopper who made 175 appearances for the Azzurri apologised to the fans following their elimination at the playoff stage. The 39-year-old declared “I am not sorry for myself but for all of Italian football,” whilst wiping tears from his eyes. Buffon swiftly announced his International retirement shortly after the game alongside Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi but he would not have wanted to call time on his career in such shambolic circumstances. He did concede that the side remains packed full of talent with the likes of Gigi Donnarumma and Mattia Perin set for bright International futures. After losing 1-0 at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Italy weren’t able to find a way past a dogged Swedish defence and failed to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958. Sweden will head to Russia at the expense of Gian Piero Ventura’s side with the Italian boss set for talks over his future on November 15. It’s been an underwhelming spell for the coach, who refused to step down after his side’s failure to break down the opposition and worryingly, he is currently contracted until Euro 2020. Despite their struggles in the qualifying group, Italy were still amongst the favourites to win the World Cup until unceremoniously crashing out on November 13th. Top Irish bookmakers have already priced up the outright market for the tournament which gets underway on June 14th with Betfair narrowly favouring Germany as 5/1 favourites ahead of Brazil and Spain. Buffon calls time on his International career as the most capped player in the history of the Italian football team and captained the side 79 times. He was an ever-present during his side’s success at the 2006 World Cup and was hoping to bow out in style during the 2018 staging of the event but his wish could not be granted. You can find details of all of the top Irish bookmakers here at BettingTop10, including Bet365, who make Germany and Brazil joint 5/1 favourites to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy next summer.