For the first time in their rich footballing history, Italy will be absent from two consecutive World Cups.
The Azzurri missed out in 2018 after losing to Sweden over two legs in the play-offs and they experienced heartbreak once again on Thursday evening.
In their World Cup play-off semi-final on home soil against North Macedonia, Roberto Mancini’s side were beaten 1-0 in dramatic circumstances.
Former Palermo winger Aleksandar Trajkovski netted the game’s only goal in the 92nd-minute of proceedings, his long-range shot completely catching out Gianluigi Donnarumma.
North Macedonia’s incredible triumph ranks as one of the biggest upsets in the history of World Cup qualification, of that there is no doubt.
Italy players were visibly upset after the referee blew the final whistle and that’s certainly understandable.
Verratti was devastated after Italy's loss 🥺 pic.twitter.com/tqWonSifKx— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 24, 2022
The likes of Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne, Jorginho and Ciro Immobile will barely have featured at a World Cup by the time their international careers over.
But while they have every right to be distraught with the events that unfolded in Palermo, the state in which the Italy team left the dressing room after the loss to North Macedonia was simply not acceptable.
A video highlighting the dreadful condition of the facilities has gone viral on social media and you can check out the damning footage for yourself here.
Video: The state Italy players left the dressing room in after North Macedonia loss
La manière dont la Nazionale a laissé le vestiaire suite à l'élimination contre la Macédoine du Nord… C'est la première fois qu'une équipe laisse le stade dans un état aussi pitoyable que ça.— Palermo F.C 🇫🇷🇧🇪 (@palermefc) March 26, 2022
J'ai pas les mots, la honte. pic.twitter.com/V9v0kwxlab
That’s just not on, is it?
While the players can’t be expected to leave the dressing room absolutely spotless, the mess they left was a bit disgusting really. You have to feel sorry for the cleaning staff at Stadio Renzo Barbera.
We can only hope that Italy leave the dressing room in a far better state after the conclusion of their friendly match against Turkey next Tuesday evening.
Mancini is expected to name a much-changed side for that fixture, with Football Italia reporting that Insigne, Jorginho and Immobile have already left the camp.
There’s even a possibility the trio could in fact retire from international football…