Leonardo Bonucci criticised referee Cuneyt Cakir for not sending off Sweden's Ola Toivonen for an aerial challenge that left the Italy defender with a broken nose.
The AC Milan centre-back was caught by an elbow inside the opening minute of Sweden's 1-0 win over the Azzurri in the first leg of their World Cup play-off.
Turkish official Cakir did not even book Toivonen for his involvement in the clash, while Bonucci managed to play the full game despite his injury.
“He broke my nose after 30 seconds and should’ve been sent off. There’s not much you can say other than that," Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.
"A referee with greater character would’ve sent off at least one of the Swedish players.
“We knew Sweden would play the long ball and flick it on, so they created very little, but we should’ve been quicker when moving the ball around.
“We have to believe in what we’re doing to the last moment of the second leg at San Siro on Monday."
Substitute Jakob Johansson's deflected goal in the 61st minute secured the Swedes a slim lead to take into the return fixture at the San Siro in Milan.
Worryingly for Italy, they will have to do without Marco Verratti for the second leg after the midfielder picked up a booking in Solna that triggers an automatic one-match ban.