Italy's hopes of creating a small piece of history for coach Marcello Lippi died as the World champions went down 2-0 to Brazil in London.
First-half goals from Elano and Robinho inflicted on the Azzurri a first defeat in their last 32 matches under Lippi – one short of a new world record.
Fabio Grosso had a spectacular early volley wrongly ruled out for offside but Italy were soon forced on to the back foot.
Robinho almost caught Fabio Cannavaro dawdling on the ball inside his own penalty box and it came as no great surprise when the brighter Brazilians went ahead after 13 minutes.
Brazil may have made the Emirates Stadium their adopted home but this was a goal made in Manchester as Elano and Robinho, club mates at Manchester City, combined to open up the Azzurri defence. Collecting a pass from Ronaldinho, Elano flicked the ball to Robinho and then advanced forward. Robinho's return pass just evaded the desperate lunge of Nicola Legrottaglie and Elano slotted the ball past Gianluigi Buffon.
The second goal arrived after 27 minutes via the dancing feet of Robinho. A Brazilian counter-attack looked to have broken down as Andrea Pirlo shepherded the ball away from his own area but Robinho nipped in to dispossess the Italy playmaker. Running into the box he jinked to go inside and then outside of the bemused Gianluca Zambrotta before beating Buffon with a low shot that found the far corner.
Lippi made the first of an inevitable flurry changes at the start of the second period, sending on Mauro Camoranesi, Simone Perrotta, Giuseppe Rossi and Luca Toni.
It was Toni who came closest to finding a reply. He had the ball in the net on the hour but was judged to have handled the ball as he held off two gold shirts before bundling it past the goalkeeper from Pirlo's through-pass.
Inter's Julio Cesar then denied Italy a consolation goal by stopping Toni's close-range effort from a Rossi cross and keeping out a Grosso free-kick.
The result ends Lippi's 31-match unbeaten run that stretched over two spells on the Azzurri bench. The World Cup-winning coach will now have to concentrate on two crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and the Republic of Ireland next month.