Italy began the search for a new boss after the four-time world champions crashed out of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in 60 years.
Heading the shortlist is former Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Milan and PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Gian Piero Ventura’s disastrous short-lived tenure will surely now come to an end after he became the first Italy coach since Alfredo Foni in 1958 to fail to lead his players through the qualification process.
A title winner in all five of Europe’s biggest leagues and three-time Champions League king, Ancelotti, 58, is free after parting ways with Bayern and is odds on favourite for the rebuilding job.
For Ancelotti, leading Italy back to the top of the world game would be the ultimate challenge. But it will be a long way back.
He might want to start by finding the Azzurri a striker. Losing 1-0 to Sweden on aggregate, Italy’s players couldn’t hit a barn door through 180 minutes of turgid football.
And it could have been even worse. In the second leg, a 0-0 draw, Sweden was denied what looked like two clear-cut penalties for handballs, first from Matteo Darmian and then from Andrea Barzagli.
By contrast, Sweden’s goalkeeper Robin Olsen was tested just once in the entire game.
The last major competitions Italy missed were the 1984 and 1992 European Championships. It has participated in every World Cup since failing to qualify for the 1958 tournament.
Other possible choices for Italy’s new coach include Antonio Conte, should he decide he’s had enough of West London, Atalanta boss Gian Piero Garperini, Empoli’s Maurizio Sarri and Roberto Mancini, who may want to resurrect his own coaching career by breathing new life into the national side.
Outsiders include Luigi Di Biagio, the current coach of the Under-21s, and Massimiliano Allegri, but it would take a miracle to lure him away from Juventus.
Who would you vote for as Italy’s next coach:
- Antonio Conte
- Di Biagio