The Italian Olympic football squad returned home today with heads bowed after their shock early exit.
The Azzurri were expected to at least defend their bronze medal earned in Athens in 2004, but crashed out in the quarter-finals 3-2 against a Belgium side that played with 10 men for 75 minutes.
"I am so disappointed," said Sebastian Giovinco, who had scored a stunning goal in the 3-0 opener over Honduras.
"The FIGC President was right to expect more from the players who can give greater quality to the squad."
Giuseppe Rossi agreed that overall the big stars failed to make their mark in that game, although he scored a brace of penalties.
"President Giancarlo Abete said the right thing. The players who are meant to bring the best technique did not step up on this occasion," added the Villarreal man.
Italy had been very impressive up until that quarter-final, scoring six goals and keeping three straight clean sheets in the group phase.
It all went very wrong against Belgium, although President Abete has confirmed his faith in coach Pierluigi Casiraghi.
"We were unable to take control of the match, especially after the equaliser to make it 2-2," confessed Casiraghi.
"We are disappointed, as when you reach the quarter-finals you start to taste the idea of a medal."
Belgium will face Nigeria in the semi-final, but the big clash is between south American giants Brazil and Argentina. There are several Serie A stars in with a shot of a medal, including Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato and Victor Obinna.
Source: C4 Football Italia