Italy crashed out of Group F earlier today following a 3-2 defeat to Slovankia ; to rely on cliche’, the scoreline flattered to deceive on behalf of the remaining World Champions, and in the words of the Guardian’s Paul Wilson, “if the French fell out among themselves, Italy simply failed to turn up.”  Coach Marcello Lippo’s postmatch statements were a tad contradictory, on one hand taking full accountability, but adding, “The players didn’t play right, they didn’t press, they didn’t build, they didn’t do anything.” From The Telegraph :

“There are no excuses because when a team comes to a match as important as tonight’s with terror in their legs, their heads and their hearts, and don’t manage to express themselves,” bemoaned Lippi.  “It means that the coach hasn’t prepared them in the right way,”

“I didn’t think we could win the World Cup but I though we would do better.”

In a strikingly honest assessment of what went wrong, Lippi pummelled himself verbally for 15 minutes.

“I failed to train the team well enough, they weren’t ready for such an important match. For an hour and 15 minutes, for psychological reasons I think, nothing worked,” he said.

His stark words took some of the sting out of the Italian reporters who were waiting to savage a campaign that began with two 1-1 draws.

“I have no intention of getting straight back into coaching and training after this,” added Lippi. “I’ll take some months off and we will see.”