Defending world champions Italy were defeated 2-1 by Mexico in Brussels in their penultimate friendly match ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
Italy struggled throughout against their fellow hopefuls for this year's tournament in South Africa with Mexico prevailing courtesy of a 17th-minute goal from Carlos Vela and a late strike from Alberto Medina.
Leonardo Bonucci grabbed a consolation a minute from the end for the Azzurri at the King Baudouin stadium in the Belgian capital.
It could have been a different story for Marcello Lippi's side, though, Vincenzo Iaquinta striking the bar with a powerful header after just three minutes. Mexico capitalised on that slice of luck to take the lead 14 minutes later when Vela met Giovani dos Santos's cross with a fine first-time volley.
Carlos Salcido twice went close to doubling Mexico's advantage with powerful efforts from range and Italy were again on the back foot after half-time, Pablo Barrera and Javier Hernández both squandering fine chances to give Mexico breathing space.
Their second finally arrived when Medina fired in from close range with six minutes left, though Italy salvaged a late consolation courtesy of Bari defender Bonucci's first international goal.
"I'm not surprised because the players had tired legs today," Lippi said. "I know them well and they are much better than this."
Italy, who return to Sestriere near Turin to continue altitude training, face Switzerland on Saturday in their last friendly before travelling to South Africa where they will make their Group F debut against Paraguay in Cape Town on June 15.