Outgoing captain Fabio Cannavaro insists changes are needed in Italian football or the team could face a lengthy wait before regaining the World Cup.
An ageing Italy side crashed out of the 2010 tournament at the group stage on Thursday with a 3-2 defeat to Slovakia and the match marked the end of the road in international football for 36-year-old Cannavaro, who made 136 appearances for the Azzurri and led them to World Cup glory in 2006.
The central defender told Gazzetta dello Sport: "In our football several things need to change otherwise we will not win the World Cup again for 25 years."
He added: "Every country has its problems. Our mechanisms must change. Just look at our stadiums and the culture that we have, when we look at the game we've got to focus on young people. Otherwise you have trouble, as happened to us on Thursday."
The match was also Marcello Lippi's last as national coach, with his second spell ending on a crushing low after the dazzling high of World Cup success in 2006 had signalled the end of his first stint in charge.
The new man coming in is former Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli, and Cannavaro thinks the new man will have a tough task on his hands.
"He's good, but he will have much work to do," Cannavaro added.
"The qualifying matches for Euro 2012 are difficult, and the replacements to come in are few. Football is made of cycles of generations. The current generation has good elements, but it is not first rate."