Despite their efforts, a Swedish shut-out sent the Scandinavians to Russian Federation and left the Italian players in tears, with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon emotionally announcing the end of his 175-cap career nearly immediately after the final whistle blew.
This is the first time since 2006 that Sweden has qualified for the world showpiece.
The game at Milan's San Siro stadium witnessed a generational shift for Italy, with Buffon and fellow 2006 veterans Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all quitting the team, while Giorgio Chiellini also hung up his Azzurri jersey. "Congratulations to the national team!" he wrote on Facebook.
"I hope Sweden has a top-level World Cup, given that they were at the level of stopping Italy from qualifying", Angelelli said.
It was 1958 and the World Cup was actually held in Sweden across 22 days in June with the hosts finishing runners-up to Brazil.
"It's upsetting that my last Italy game coincides with our elimination for the World Cup", said Buffon, a World Cup victor in 2006.
Italy joins Chile, Holland, the U.S. Men's National Team, Ghana and the Ivory Coast as some of the most recognizable countries to miss out on next year's World Cup.
"I have never experienced anything like this", said goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Asked by a reporter from Italian television programme "Le Iene" if he will resign his post after the Azzurri lost 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden, Ventura replied: "Yes". "We couldn't do it in any other way, they are so skilful".
Ventura, 69, is under contract until 2020. "At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead".
"Italy, this is the apocalypse", ran a headline on the website of sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.
"It is an intolerable football shame, an indelible stain", the newspaper said.