Delirious Swedish footballers crashed an on-air television discussion and broke a desk in hilarious scenes following their qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
A goalless draw in Italy on Tuesday morning (AEDT) saw Sweden reach sport’s biggest party after a gritty defensive display against their more-fancied opponents.
Italy was the favourite to win the second leg after losing 1-0 in Stockholm on Saturday (AEDT), but could not convert any of their 24 shots on goal.
And that saw Sweden qualify for the World Cup after a gripping, but ultimately scoreless, 90 minutes.
Sweden, runners-up at the 1958 World Cup, had not qualified since 2006, while four-time winners Italy has not missed one since 1958.
And the Swedish side was keen to celebrate, kickstarting what was sure to be a big night, by gate-crashing a post-match discussion on television channel, Eurosport.
The players ran en masse towards the television presenters and even broke the desk as they leapt around and sang.
Defender Mikael Lustig was the most exuberant, dancing in front of the camera and later kicking the desk.
Watch the footage below
This is how Sweden celebrated qualifying for the World Cup 😂 pic.twitter.com/b2juriMV60
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) November 14, 2017
Sweden was arguably lucky to qualify, given Italy had 75 per cent of the possession, but Jakob Johansson’s deflected first-leg strike was enough.
‘Apocalypse, tragedy, catastrophe’
The result sparked a hand-wringing post-mortem in Italy – one that is sure to rage for months to come.
It also seems certain that coach Gian Piero Ventura has taken charge of his last match with the national side, admitting afterwards he was “sorry” for the result.
“We will address the problem with the federation. Now I cannot go beyond this,” he said.
Italy legends Daniele De Rossi, Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli have all retired.
De Rossi, who like Buffon, played in Italy’s victorious 2006 World Cup- winning side, had an angry confrontation with the Italian coaches in the dying stages of the Sweden clash.
After being asked to warm up, the midfielder angrily insisted forward Lorenzo Insigne come on instead, given Italy was chasing a goal.
De Rossi dubbed the loss a “black moment” for Italian football.
“There’s little to say. Unfortunately there will be a lot of time to analyse it,” he said.
“The only thing I can say is that we showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics.”
Italy’s Federico Bernardeschi said failure to qualify for the football showpiece was “tragic” and a stinging editorial in Gazzetta dello Sport backed him up.
“In only a few months time we will be watching the World Cup for everyone else,” it read.
“For the first time in 60 years, we will be on the outside.
“It is an intolerable football shame, an indelible stain.
“It is over. Apocalypse, tragedy, catastrophe. Call it how you see it, but please, spare us the speeches on a system that isn’t working: our football is in a serious crisis, but it is not inferior to its Swedish or its Swiss counterparts.”