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Conte and Buffon at a press conference.

Antonio Conte reacts to Italy failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup

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Italy is one of the proudest footballing nations in the world, which meant that their failure to reach the 2018 World Cup hit their fans extremely hard.

The 1-0 play-off defeat to Sweden will result in the Azzurri not being at a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1958, and only the second time in their entire history.

After his trophy-laden spell at Juventus, Antonio Conte managed the Italy national team between 2014 and 2016 before moving to Stamford Bridge.

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The Chelsea boss has seen some of his most reliable players - Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele de Rossi, and of course, Gianluigi Buffon - call time on their international careers in the wake of the games against Sweden.

Ahead of the Premier League champions' trip to West Brom on Saturday, Conte has revealed how he feels after his country missed out on World Cup qualification.

Conte reacts to Italy's World Cup failure

The 48-year-old delivered an emotional response when questioned about Italy, telling reporters, via Goal: "My feeling is the same as any Italian person.

"First of all, I am very sad. This is a big stop for our football movement. After 60 years and you miss the World Cup. You know very well the importance of football in Italy.

Italy v Spain - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

"Football is at the top of the interest of every single person but I think you have to try together to find the right solution. Every department in Italy has to take the responsibility.

"Not only one, two or three people because when you fail, the whole country fails. It is not the fault of one or two or three people.

"In this case, I think it is my failure, your failure (in the media), the failure of Italy and I think that this moment is very sad for us."

Conte continued: "But we must use this moment to reflect and to try and to find the right solution, not only with words, but also facts.

FBL-EURO-2016-MATCH47-GER-ITA

"If you find a manager and you don't put him in the job in the best way to change something, then it is not enough to change only the manager.

"You must also put this person in the best condition to change something, not for them to find a lot of obstacles in their way."

Conte for Italy return?

Gian Piero Ventura was inevitably sacked after Italy failed to reach next summer's showpiece occasion in Russia, fueling reports of a potential Conte take over.

FBL-EUR-C1-CHELSEA-TRAINING

However, the Blues manager has ruled out a return to the four-time world champions, insisting that he is "very focused on Chelsea and totally committed to the club".

Do YOU agree with what Conte has said about Italy's World Cup failure? Who do YOU think should be their next manager? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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Topics:
Italy Football
Giorgio Chiellini
Premier League
Football
Gianluigi Buffon
World Cup
Chelsea

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