Wales. USA. Chile. Cameroon. Ivory Coast. Ghana. Holland. Add to these the name of #italy as some of the teams that will not be present at the #world cup in Russia next year. Eliminated after a 0-0 draw with Sweden on Monday night, the Italians' absence next year is perhaps the most poignant of all the absentees for the world's showpiece event.

A proud footballing nation, Italy's has been a sad and relatively quick decline. Champions in 2006, non-qualifiers just three tournaments later. Theirs is a loss to the nation and the tournament. Led by the unimpressive Gian Piero Ventura, a solid if unspectacular qualifying campaign was followed by a tame and limp play-off against Sweden in which they failed to score over 180 minutes.

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23 shots on goal, only 6 on target. 75% possession. These are just some of the statistics from the disappointment second leg. In such a grand and historic venue as the San Siro, Italy failed to do justice to their surroundings as they struggled to break down a disciplined Sweden side and never really looked like scoring.

How did it all come to this? The Azzurri's superb triumph in 2006 was the last hurrah of an ageing but outstanding collection of players, but the fall from there was almost immediate. Bar one surprise run at Euro 2012, they have flattered to deceive in every tournament since.

At Euro 2008 they were eliminated to eventual champions Spain at the quarter-final stage. In 2010 they came bottom of their group, winless in a straight-forward-looking group comprised of Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.

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They surprised many by reaching the final of Euro 2012, although even this run came with caveats.

They escaped the groups by with a backs-to-the-wall draw with Spain, a limp and ineffective draw with Croatia and a routine hammering of a desperately poor Ireland. In the knockouts, they made the final on the back off a penalty shootout victory over an even less inspiring England, and a Mario Balotelli-inspired win over a transitional Germany. Up against World Champions Spain in the final, they were duly brushed aside 0-4.

In 2014 they again failed to make it out of the groups, this time eliminated at the hands of Uruguay and Costa Rica. Antonio Conte's astute management hauled them to a quarter-final at Euro 2016, but once the charismatic manager left for Chelsea it was clear this stuttering side would struggle.

There are some talented players in this Italy side - not least Marco Verratti and Stephan El Shaarawy in midfield - but it is a sad indictment of the state of #Italian Football that for a country famed for its defence, the leaders of the backline are all 30+ years of age.

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There is not a lot of young talent coming through at the back, and the likes of Giorgio Chiellini (33), Andrea Barzagli (36), Leonardo Bonucci (30) and Gianluigi Buffon (39) are left to carry the burden.

Excluding those four, Italy's starting XI against Sweden contained 139 caps. By contrast, Italy's starting XI in the 2006 final had 364 caps before the tournament started. And this with Alessandro Del Piero and Daniele de Rossi on the bench. The national team was allowed to grow old and stale after 2006, and has not recovered.

The corruption scandal that summer that engulfed Italian football undoubtedly wounded the national side and potentially turned young fans off the game, but for such a historic nation to be missing out on the World Cup is a pity.

Italy's fall has been a sharp one, and the World Cup will be all the poorer for it.