Giorgio Chiellini confirmed his Italy retirement, complimented Sweden on their World Cup qualification and called this exit “Zero Hour” for the Azzurri.
The 0-0 draw at San Siro was not enough to overturn the 1-0 first leg defeat to Sweden, so the Nazionale miss their first World Cup since 1958.
“At the end of the day it was deserved. I am not someone who clings to good luck or the referee, we compliment Sweden. We gave everything we had, but evidently at this moment it was not enough and they deserved it more than we did,” the Juventus defender told Rai Sport.
“We must resume from the love shown to us from Milan, but also the whole nation. We were truly proud of everything around us and therefore even more disappointed not to get the result.
“We have many young lads who over the next few years will need this same love and support. It’s a long road ahead and after a fall like this there is much work to be done.
“Over the last three years or so we have asked for this love to never leave the Nazionale. Italy will begin again from Marco Verratti and many other lads born in the 1990s who will be mature for the next Euros, which fortunately we’ll have some games at home.
“I am certain that if what we saw tonight can be built on, it will be seen as a Zero Hour. Italy hadn’t missed the World Cup in 60 years, so clearly it is a sea change. Football belongs to everyone and we all want to create a new era.”