Daniele De Rossi has explained his heated exchange with coaching staff as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.
The Azzuri needed a goal to at least take their play-off against Sweden to extra-time but failed to find the net in a seismic night in Milan.
And the Roma legend was seen taking out his frustration on a coach after the decision was taken to send him on as a substitute rather than Napoli playmaker Lorenzo Insigne – arguably their best attacking player.
De Rossi – who announced his international retirement after the game – snapped on the bench and is reported to have said “Why the hell should I go on? We don’t need to draw here, we need to win!”.
The Italians were held to a goalless draw at the San Siro, meaning they missed out on the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
But defensive midfielder De Rossi has revealed what happened on the touchline as the Italians crashed out
De Rossi said: “We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go.
“I just said we were near the end and 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 perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead.”
Italy had a number of penalty shouts turned down on the night but lacked composure in front of goal, with Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti both unable to break a resolute Swedish defence down.
But the refusal of manager Gian Piero Ventura – who resigned in the immediate aftermath – to play Insigne will be the main bug bear for the Italians who will miss out on a World Cup for the first time since 1958.