“I didn’t expect it; it was a very sad day from a sporting point of view,” Mr Lotti said.

“Perhaps it’s time to make the decisions that we didn’t have the courage to make before.”

Democratic Party (PD) leader and former Italian premier, Matteo Renzi, echoed Mr Lotti’s thoughts.

“Soccer in Italy needs to be rebuilt from scratch like never before, starting with how we parents behave when we’re in the stands for youth matches, to the live television broadcasts and the promotion of Italian football abroad,” he said.

“Not taking part in the World Cup is an enormous slap; let’s use it to help everyone change radically at once.”

Meanwhile, president of the Italian Olympic Committee CONI, Giovanni Malagò, said he would resign if he were president of the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC), Carlo Tavecchio, following Italy’s failure.

The Azzurri could do no better than a 0-0 draw against Sweden in Monday’s playoff return, and won’t be going to next year’s World Cup tournament in Russia after losing the first leg 1-0 on Friday.

It’s the first time the Italian national team has failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1958, marking an all-time low for the nation’s favourite sport.

The Italian press have used words such as “apocalypse”, “disaster” and “humiliation” to describe the four-time world champions’ loss.

Italy's coach, Gian Piero Ventura, apologised to the nation for the shocking outcome.

“I feel I should say sorry to the Italian people for the result, not for the commitment,” he said.

“But I know that it’s the result that counts.”

Mr Ventura and Mr Tavecchio are yet to confirm whether or not they will resign.