Italy creates 'lost generation' of soccer stars with 2018 World Cup miss

Italy creates 'lost generation' of soccer stars with 2018 World Cup miss

"I still have a hard time believing that Italy will not go to the World Cup".

The Swedes in the 12th time and first since 2006, qualified in the final stage of the world Cup. Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli - along with Daniele De Rossi on the bench - were part of that old guard from '06, and whilst Buffon is still capable of playing at the highest level, the others should have already been sidelined in favour of undeniable talent that was coming through.

"Seeing Buffon cry saddened me", the 1982 World Cup victor, who also represented Juve with distinction for over a decade, told Goal .

Italy's failure to qualify was met with a furious response from supporters and media, who lambasted manager Gian Piero Ventura and urged him to resign. We need to get a great coach, even in the interim. Italy was eliminated in the group stage at both the 2010 and 2014 tournaments. Denmark and Sweden were angered by suggestions they would throw the game to progress together. True lovers of football couldn't fail to be moved by the emotions on show by the legendary stopper, a fact that was acknowledged by one of his peers after the match. "I don't cling to good or bad luck, we gave all that we had but it wasn't enough".

Buffon, Barzagli and De Rossi were planning to hand over their expertise to the next generation in Russian Federation. "I want to see you like you were before, as what you continue to be for many: a LEGEND".

Italy reached the final again in 1994 but lost to Brazil 3-2 on penalties after the match had ended goalless.

Italy has historically been reluctant to use younger players despite a trend in that direction, as evidenced by the recent success of a young Germany squad that won the 2014 World Cup.

Director Gabriele Romagnoli told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "It's like sitting down at a table full of motivation, yet you find yourself sitting there with just a knife and fork, but no plates".