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Sebastian Giovinco reacts to Italy's World Cup failure: "It's a disaster"

TORONTO – Days removed from the Italian national team's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia, Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco reacted to the disappointment.

“For the country, for me, it's a disaster,” said Giovinco. “Because we don't play a World Cup. Because I don't know if you can play again World Cup. It's not good for me or for all Italian people.”

Giovinco would have been 31 at next year's tournament in Russia; by the time the next tournament is played in Qatar in 2022, he’ll be 35.

Asked what happened, Giovinco could only shake his head: “I don't know. I wasn't part of the team because I never played with [them], with this coach. I don't know what happened.”

Having advanced from Group G in the UEFA European Qualifiers as runners-up behind Spain, Italy were drawn into a home-and-away two-legged playoff series against Sweden.

The Swedes took the first leg 1-0 at home on a deflected goal from Jakob Johansson last week and held on for a 0-0 draw at the San Siro in Milan on Monday, allowing them to progress to the finals at Italy's expense.

It will be the first time since 1958 that the four-time champions will not take part in the summer spectacle.

The defeat marked a turning point for the Italian side, as several mainstays, including Daniele de Rossi, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon retired from the international stage following the match.

“It finishes an era,” said Giovinco. “Who[ever] comes in has to keep the big position.”

Massive shoes to fill indeed, but Giovinco believes, “There are some players who can do a good job in the national team.”

With Gian Piero Ventura out the door, a manager who refused to consider calling in Giovinco, could there be a return to the Azzurri in the cards for TFC's Atomic Ant?

“I don't know,” admitted Giovinco. “I try to do the best here. If somebody calls me, I'm happy and I go. For sure.”