Millennium Post - - SPORT - MI­LAN:

Daniele De Rossi’s frus­tra­tion was there for ev­ery­one to see as Italy failed to qual­ify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The Roma mid­fielder was benched for the cru­cial fix­ture along­side Lorenzo In­signe, who has been in bril­liant form for Serie A lead­ers Napoli this sea­son. With the game pe­ter­ing out, and Italy head­ing for a very early exit, head coach Gian Piero Ven­tura looked to his bench for some in­spi­ra­tion. De Rossi was then asked to strip off and warm up, but re­sponded an­grily to the com­mand, in­struct­ing Italy’s back­ing staff to put on a striker in­stead. TV cam­eras showed the Ital­ian telling Ven­tura’s as­sis­tant: “Why the hell should I go on?” be­fore point­ing to In­signe, sug­gest­ing he should be played in­stead. De Rossi played down the in­ci­dent af­ter the game. He told Rai Sport: “We have this ten­dency to warm up three at a time. I just said we had to win, so send the strik­ers to warm-up. I pointed to In­signe too. It wasn’t up to me whether it was a tac­ti­cal is­sue. I’m sorry if I of­fended any­one. At the time I just thought it was bet­ter that In­signe come on in­stead.” De Rossi an­nounced his in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment later.

be­cause time passes.”

An­drea Barza­gli and 34-yearold mid­fielder Daniele de Rossi, the other two mem­bers of Ita-

ly’s squad on Mon­day who lifted the 2006 World Cup, also re­tired from in­ter­na­tion­als in the af­ter­math of the shock de­feat.

“It’s the big­gest dis­ap­point­ment of my life from a sport­ing point of view... I can’t find my words,” said 36- year-old

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