Tempers flared on Italy’s bench as the team’s World Cup hopes died in a 0-0 draw with Sweden.
Defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi was clearly furious at being told to warm up when his team was desperate for a goal to book a place in Russia next summer.
De Rossi told head coach Gian Piero Ventura’s assistant: “Why the hell should I go on?” And pointed to Lorenzo Insigne to suggest he should go on instead.
Post-match De Rossi tried to play down the incident, insisting that it was nothing personal against Ventura.
“We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go,” he told Rai Sport. “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.”
De Rossi, along with other last remaining members of the 2006 World Cup winning squad Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli, retired from international football.