Italy’s shock failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia is still a sore point for many in the peninsula, including Antonio Candreva.
Under Giampiero Ventura, the Azzurri fell into the playoffs in their bid to reach this summer’s showpiece competition from Russia but after group stage exits in the last two tournaments, they continued their dismal run of World Cup form.
A 1-0 aggregate loss to Sweden saw the four-time world champions fail to book their ticket to Russia and winger Candreva admitted that it was still a source of great pain for him.
“We did not expect to be in this state of sporting mourning across the country,” Candreva said when in attendance at a charity event in Milan on Tuesday night.
“It is a great damage that we have done to our country and everybody must take blame and responsibility because we have made [the country] look like a fool.
“So now all we can do is try to look ahead. Unfortunately in this game that isn’t always easy and it can be tough to correct things.”
Candreva started the second leg of Italy’s playoff loss against Sweden and has picked up 52 caps for his country, scoring seven goals.