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Italians Shocked, Disappointed Over World Cup Elimination

Disappointed Italians voiced their unhappiness at the Italian team's poor showing at the World Cup championship in South Africa. The cups' defending champions were booted out after a humiliating defeat against Slovakia.

It was Italy's poorest show ever in a football World Cup championship. The team did not win a single game and came last in its group. Italian fans were angry and shocked.

This is a country that takes pride in its football history. Italy has won four World Cups including the last championship in 2006. People remember the enthusiasm and celebrations that followed that victory in Germany.

This time everything was different. Newspaper headlines showed no mercy saying Italy's worst team ever was out of the World Cup. They spoke of the shame and tears.

Fans complained about the choices made by Italian coach Marcello Lippi and the poor effort by the players. They said the game against Slovakia was so bad it could not be watched.

One fan said he was extremely sad and bitter, but knew Italy would not make it.

Many said they did not expect Italy to get very far, but they had hoped for something more. The team should have made it past the first round.

Coach Lippi took full responsibility for the team's failure. Italian Football Federation President Giancarlo Abete called for serious analysis of what he says is a structural crisis in Italian football.

Valerio Piccioni works at the Gazzetta dello Sport, one of the country's sports dailies. He says the problem is Italian football has not moved with the changing times.

In Italy, he says, there is such a hurry and no desire to invest in young players. Often foreign players are bought, because we need to win immediately. There's no patience. He says waiting for young players is decisive for the future of the Italian team.

There will be no warm welcome when the team comes home on Saturday. Many Italians say they will continue to watch the World Cup and hope the winner will be a South American team.