After lifting the trophy four times, Gian Piero Ventura’s side will have to wait at least four years for another opportunity
For the first time since 1958, Italy won’t be participating in a World Cup.
Italy played to a 0-0 draw with Sweden in a World Cup qualifying play-off second leg on Monday, falling 1-0 on aggregate to miss out on Russia 2018.
Gian Piero Ventura’s men were beaten 1-0 in Stockholm in the first leg on Friday, and were unable to overcome that deficit at the San Siro in Milan.
The Azzurri are one of the most successful teams in history at the World Cup, lifting the trophy in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006, but they won’t even get the chance to participate in the tournament next summer.
Ventura will now almost certainly lose his job after he took over for Antonio Conte following Italy’s successful Euro 2016 run, when they fell on penalties to Germany in the quarter-finals.
Despite going out in the quarter-finals, Conte was considered to have overachieved with that Italy side, who were short on talent in comparison to Azzurri teams of the past.
But Ventura failed to achieve what his predecessor had during his year-and-a-half in charge, with Italy regressing in a World Cup qualifying campaign that counted a 1-1 home draw to Macedonia last month among its more disappointing results.
Ventura could only lead Italy to a second-place finish in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group G, finishing five points behind group winners Spain and setting up a play-off with the Swedes to reach Russia.