Facing their first absence from a World Cup since 1958, Italy's Giorgio Chiellini knows one person to blame for the steep decline in the fortunes of the Azzurri:
Pep Guardiola spoiled and ruined the Italian defender.
Despite having never spent anytime working in Serie A, the Juventus defender believes that the influence of the Catalan coach has had a negative impact on Italy's most distinguished capacity for defending.
Not going so far as to suggest he has any problem with the Manchester City coach himself, it is just the 'pretenders' who have come in his wake:
He is a fantastic coach with a fantastic mind but Italian trainers have tried to copy him without the same knowledge and then in the last 10 years, we lost our identity.
Although it will undoubtedly upset some of Chiellini's fellow Italian defenders, he is under no illusion that the well has run dry of typically Italian defenders:
We lost our identity of Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta, Giuseppe Bergomi, Claudio Gentile, Gaetano Scirea ... between 1984 and 1995, we have only Leonardo Bonucci.
In 10 years, we didn't launch one good defender. I hope now we restart and relaunch Italian football. The World Cup result is the proof of our problem.
Who it is that leads this revolution remains unclear.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Chiellini sounds like he would be quite pleased if it was his former club and international boss Antonio Conte:
When you finish training, you are dead. Not tired - dead.
You can do it only because you believe in what he does. We had 40 days in France and it was like entering another world. You are 100% with him.
For sure, he is one of the very best.
With Conte looking set on ending his Chelsea career as soon as possible, it is a reunion that may not seem so implausible soon enough.