"Italy, this is the apocalypse," was the headline in Italy's leading sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday morning, perhaps an understandable reaction for a nation whose passion for football is so great that the same publication concluded that "a love so great must be reserved for other things [than the World Cup]".
Stunned Italians awoke Tuesday to the nightmarish realisation they will miss out on the World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years. Distraught fans of the one-time top dogs of the global game reacted with shock and disbelief.
For many the defeat reflected a profound malaise in Italian football with the 2006 World Cup triumph having been followed by group stage exits from the last two World Cups.
La Gazzetta blamed "opportunities missed". The paper's editorial read: "We will not be with you and you will not be with us. Italy will not participate at the World Cup. There will be inevitable consequences."
Inevitably that will mean the departure of widely criticised head coach Gian Piero Ventura.
La Gazzetta were in no doubt: "Ventura, now it's over," identifying Carlo Ancelotti as one potential successor. The Italian is currently out of work after leaving Bayern Munich. "Whoever comes in will have to rebuild from rubble and work towards Euro 2020," read the article. "The most fancied name is Ancelotti but there is the possibility [Chelsea manager Antonio] Conte will return, as he is a bit tired of England.
"Very welcome alternatives would be [Roberto] Mancini and [Massimiliano] Allegri, if they can leave their respective roles at Zenit St Petersburg and Juventus."
The front page of the other major sports daily, Corriere dello Sport, read simply: "Italy out of the World Cup", stating how painful it will be for the country to be on the sidelines when the finals are under way in Russia next June.
"In only a few months' time we will be watching the World Cup for everyone else: for the first time in 60 years we will be on the outside," the newspaper commented in an editorial piece. "It is an intolerable football shame, an indelible stain."
The online headline in the Italian broadsheet La Repubblica read simply: "Goodbye Russia", while Turin's La Stampa proclaimed: "Disaster for Italy, we won't be going to the World Cup."
Il Tempo went for a very grim front page, with pictures of Italian footballers and Ventura surrounding a man digging a grave for them, with the headline reading: "Get to work".