El Shaarawy: ‘Nobody expected Italy failure’

Stephan El Shaarawy is distraught at Italy missing the World Cup, explains what happened on the touchline with Daniele De Rossi.

The Azzurri failed to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958 after a 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden.

“I am very disappointed and sad for what happened,” the Little Pharaoh told the Roma Match Program.

“Obviously nobody expected it to end this way. It was an immense let down not just for us, but for all Italians. There was a surreal atmosphere at the stadium after the match.

“I feel great bitterness, but we must get back on our feet and try to work towards the future.”

Some won’t get that opportunity, as it’s the end of the line in the Nazionale for Gigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi.

“They gave a huge amount to the Azzurri jersey and failing to qualify does not cancel out what they achieved. They wrote history, won the World Cup in 2006 and for that we will always thank them.

“I personally must thank them for the way they welcomed me when I came to the Nazionale. I will really miss Daniele, so that’s why I am especially glad that I still have him as my teammate at Roma. He’s a reference point as a player, but above all as a man, a real leader with charisma and character.”

De Rossi hit the headlines all over the world with the video of him urging Coach Giampiero Ventura’s staff to introduce Lorenzo Insigne rather than him.

“It was a reaction from the heart that showed how much he cares,” added El Shaarawy. “At that moment, he expressed the thoughts that he believed were right.

“I heard some say that he refused to go on or warm up, but that was absolutely not the case. He just wanted Italy to win the game.

“We all know Daniele would never hold back, as his only thought is always for the good of the team.”

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