Captain Gianluigi Buffon, a veteran of the 2006 World Cup-winning campaign and looking to avoid an inglorious end to his Italy career, admitted the team were under pressure as they carry the weight of national pride.
Gianluigi Buffon suggests that he has retired from worldwide football following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 Russia World Cup.
"It's disappointing", Buffon told Rai Sport.
Gianluigi Buffon fought back tears as he confirmed his retirement from global football following Italy's shock failure to qualify for Russian Federation 2018. "We've failed something which could have been big also on a social level and this is my only disappointment".
Buffon felt that luck had not gone Italy's way, but he said that they could have no excuses.
While Pirlo acknowledges that the team "seemed frustrated", he insists that he is quietly confident of them getting through, saying: "I like this Italy". We know how to get back up again as we've always done.
However, Buffon refused to pin that blame exclusively on coach Gian Piero Ventura, who refused to speak to RAI following the final whistle and is now expected to either resign or be sacked.
He added: "We want to send Italians a message not with words, but with action on the pitch. Hugs to everyone, especially those I've shared this wonderful journey with". They made the Round of 16 in both 2006 and 2002, but since it's been a barren run for the Scandinavian nation who were unable to qualify for 2010 in South Africa or 2014 in Brazil.