The Italian national team’s decline began after victory in the 2006 World Cup, according to Udinese Coach Massimo Oddo.
The Bianconeri boss was a member of Marcello Lippi’s 23-man squad that won the tournament in Germany 12 years ago.
However, with the Azzurri having failed to even qualify for this summer’s finals in Russia, Oddo believes the side’s woes can be blamed on a long-term complacency that set in after becoming world champions.
“The Nazionale being out of the World Cup is an enormous disappointment,” the former Milan defender began.
“But from a certain point of view I was happy about it, it’s for the good of Italian football.
“The biggest defeat was the victory in 2006. We felt like we were the strongest and we didn’t feel the need to change.
“The defeated teams then embarked on a new path.”
Italy are still yet to name a successor to Giampiero Ventura, who was sacked after November’s play-off defeat to Sweden.