Italy lost 1-0 in the first leg of their qualification play-off to Sweden and were then unable to turn things around at San Siro on Monday, as they were held to a 0-0 draw.
Among the most heroic was Andreas Granqvist, Ibrahimovic's successor as captain, who was a colossal figure in central defence.
The 39-year-old goalkeeper, who lifted the 2006 World Cup in Germany, who had been hoping to compete in a record sixth World Cup.
This is the only regret that I have, even if my last competitive game coincides with failure to qualify for the World Cup'.
"It is really very sad because watching the World Cup was something that really brought us together as Italians", said recent graduate Stefania Pusateri, heading for the exit after watching the match in a Rome bar. "I thought they'd forgotten it, but John [Guidetti] and "Vigge" [Victor] Lindelof shaved it off straight away!"
The Swedes, whose starting lineup included only four players based with teams in Europe's so-called big five leagues, will take their place after qualifying for the first time since 2006.
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"It's upsetting that my last Italy game coincides with our elimination for the World Cup", said Buffon, a World Cup victor in 2006.
"Considering that he has chose to leave worldwide football, he is a great champion, but we had to adapt and found another style". We know how to get back up again as we've always done. "We will confront the problem with the federation, I can't say any more than that at the moment". "We couldn't do it in any other way". The country's national team also won the European Championship in 1968.
"When Ibrahimovic was here with us we played a different style of football".
"Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe. He has made a decision to leave global football, and he is a great champion, but we had to adapt and we found another style".