ROME – The End. The Apocalypse. A national shame.
Local newspapers spared no words Tuesday in describing four-time champion Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
The Gazzetta dello Sport headline read "FINE" — "The End" — in big, block letters, while Turin daily La Stampa wrote "Apocalypse Azzurra."
Rome daily Il Messaggero called it "A national shame," and Rome sports daily Corriere dello Sport said "Everyone out."
After a scoreless draw with Sweden on Monday, Italy lost a qualifying playoff on 1-0 aggregate.
Italy had participated in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament, which coincidentally was held in Sweden.
The previous major competitions Italy missed were the 1984 and 1992 European Championships.