De Rossi: 'Funeral atmosphere' in Italy dressing room
The 2006 World Cup champions faced Sweden in the second leg of their qualifier on Monday. However, they failed to breach the Swedish defence at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan and drew 0-0, losing 1-0 on aggregate.
The last time Italy failed to reach the tournament was in 1958, and De Rossi has explained that there was a surreal atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards.
"We will begin again, just as we did after other desperately disappointing moments," he told Rai Sport.
"I don't believe we deserved to go out considering the 180 minutes, Sweden deserve credit for their performance, but it was fairly even.
"Now the next generation is ready to take flight and we must begin again from them. It was almost an absurd moment to associate with a football match. There was a funeral atmosphere in the locker room, yet nobody died.
"I've been wandering around Coverciano and all over the world with this jersey for over a decade, so to take it off for the last time is a strange feeling."
Towards the latter stages of the game, De Rossi could be seen remonstrating with Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura, and he has revealed it was down to the fact that he disagreed with Ventura's substitutions.
"I just said we were near the end and had to win, so send the strikers to warm up. I pointed to (Lorenzo) Insigne too," he added.
"It wasn't up to me whether it was a tactical issue. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead."