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Italian soccer is on the brink of disaster

Italy
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

What was football and life like when Italy last missed a World Cup in 1958?

Sweden held off Italy to advance to the 2018 World Cup, while the Italians failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.
Sweden held off Italy to advance to the 2018 World Cup, while the Italians failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.
Gab Marcotti is given the floor to share his true feelings on Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The manager, players and fans alike all reflect on what went wrong as Italy failed to make it to the World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years.
Watch the reaction of Italy's players after the four-time world champions missed qualifying for a 15th straight World Cup.
Gab Marcotti and Craig Burley go back and forth on how much Gian Piero Ventura is at fault for Italy missing the World Cup.
Gian Piero Ventura confirms he has not resigned as Italy coach, despite failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Italy is coming to terms with its national team's failure to qualify for a World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years.

The four-time world champions' 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in their qualification playoff ended their run of 14 consecutive World Cup appearances since missing out on the 1958 finals in, ironically, Sweden.

Since then, Italian sides have enjoyed great success in world football's premier competition, reaching the final four times and lifting the trophy twice, in 1982 and 2006 to add to the titles claimed in 1934 and 1938.

Monday's defeat also brought an undignified end to the glittering international careers of quartet Andrea Barzagli, Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele De Rossi.

To put into context just how long it has been since Italy last missed a World Cup, here are some things to show what the game of football and the wider world were like in 1958.

Elvis Presley was in the U.S. Army in 1958
Elvis Presley joined the U.S. Army in 1958 despite being the world's biggest music star.

FOOTBALL

1. Sweden reached the World Cup final

If Monday's result didn't hurt enough for Italian fans, the last time their team failed to reach the World Cup their vanquishers Sweden finished as the tournament's runners-up. The hosts put on a series of impressive displays, including a 3-1 win over West Germany in the semifinals, before a 17-year-old Pele's brace helped Brazil to a 5-2 victory.

2. Wolverhampton Wanderers were English First Division champions

The fact that the Premier League would not come into existence for over 30 years tells its own story. Current Championship high-fliers Wolves held off Preston North End to claim their second First Division title, four years after their first, and they retained the title the following year.

3. Real Madrid won the European Cup for the third time

One thing that hasn't changed is Real Madrid's dominance in Europe. A goal from Francisco Gento in extra time saw Los Blancos beat AC Milan 3-2 to secure the third of their five consecutive European Cup titles. Madrid picked up a record 12th title with a 4-1 win over Juventus in June.

4. Raymond Kopa won the Ballon d'Or

Real Madrid and France midfielder Raymond Kopa was awarded the accolade of Europe's best player. In addition to helping Madrid to European Cup glory, Kopa was a key figure in France's 1958 World Cup run, scoring three goals as they finished third.

Real Madrid's domination of the European Cup's early years saw Raymond Kopa win the Ballon d'Or in 1958.

5. Bobby Moore made his debut for West Ham

English football icon Bobby Moore made his first appearance for the Hammers on Sept. 8, 1958 as a 17-year-old in a First Division clash with Manchester United. Although he started as a winger, he soon shifted to the heart of the defence where he led England to World Cup glory eight years later.

6. The Munich Air Disaster happened

British European Airways flight 609 crashed in Munich on Feb. 6, 1958 while carrying Matt Busby's Manchester United squad (the "Busby Babes") home from a European Cup match in Belgrade. The accident resulted in the deaths of 20 of the 44 people travelling on the aircraft, including eight first-team players.

7. Liverpool were playing in the Second Division

Liverpool finished the 1957-58 season in fourth place in the Second Division, as West Ham and Blackburn secured promotion to the top tier. Bill Shankly took charge of the club a year later, leading them to back into the First Division in 1962 to kickstart the club's most glorious era.

Pele became an international star as he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

AROUND THE WORLD

8. Harold Macmillan was in his second year as U.K. Prime Minister

The Conservative politician succeeded Anthony Eden at No. 10 Downing Street in 1957 and would hold office until his retirement in 1963. Current PM Theresa May was also around at the time, but was just two years old.

9. Dwight Eisenhower was halfway through his second term as U.S. President

As one of the most prominent figures of the Cold War, Eisenhower was a key player in the Space Race until he left office in 1961 and was replaced by John F. Kennedy, who was Senator of Massachusetts.

10. Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army

On March 24, just after the release of greatest hits compilation "Elvis' Golden Records," Elvis was called up. He remained in the military until 1960, serving spells in Germany.

11. George Harrison joined Paul McCartney and John Lennon

The Beatles first got together performing under the name The Quarrymen. Despite concerns from Lennon that he was too young at the age of 15, Harrison was accepted as a member after impressing with his guitar playing.

12. Frank Sinatra released the album "Come Fly With Me"

Sinatra's 15th studio album featured the single of the same name, which had been first played the year before, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart in its second week.

13. "Bridge Over the River Kwai" was the big winner at the 1958 Oscars

The epic war movie claimed Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean) and Best Actor (Alec Guinness) among its seven awards won at the ceremony on March 26 of that year, having been released the previous October.

14. Arnold Palmer claimed his first major

Palmer edged past Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins to win the Masters by one stroke. The golfing legend would go to win another six major championships, including three more titles at Augusta.

15. Ian Fleming's sixth James Bond novel "Dr. No" was published

A film adaptation starring Sean Connery was released in 1962, starting the highly successful franchise which continued with 2015's "Spectre."

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