Italy arrived in Rome this morning and unlike four years ago, after a triumphant World Cup in Germany, there were not many fans waiting for them at Fiumicino airport.
The Azzurri endured a shocking early exit from the tournament this week in South Africa, finishing bottom of Group F.
After their famous win over France in 2006, thousands of fans greeted the Italians in the Eternal City, but this time less than 100 supporters were on hand and many of them expressed their anger and disappointment.
Shouts of "Shame on you" were directed mainly at coach Marcello Lippi and team captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Other players travelled a few hours later on to Milan's Malpensa airport, where virtually no fans awaited them.
Italy left the World Cup without a win after disappointing draws against Paraguay and minnows New Zealand were followed by a 3-2 defeat against Slovakia in their final group game.
"There is a lot of bitterness," said Italy forward Fabio Quagliarella, one of a select few to receive a good reception on their return back home. "It's understandable. We have said sorry to our fans.
"Now we must construct an Italy side that is always strong."
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) will unveil Cesare Prandelli as Lippi's successor on July 1.
"Next week we will present Prandelli as the new coach," said FIGC President Giancarlo Abete.
"There's the need, the duty to start again, knowing how important this national team is for millions of fans.
"Prandelli has been chosen because of his technical quality, his capacity to work with youngsters.
"We want him to remain for a long time that will end after the next World Cup.
"He has signed a four-year contract."
Abete does not believe announcing Prandelli as the new head coach ahead of Italy's trip to South Africa earlier this month had hindered the side.
"No, I don't believe that was the case," he said. "In any case, we had no alternative because Lippi's wish was to leave the national team after the World Cup.
"We had to make a decision regarding the new coach in order for Prandelli to free himself from his contract with Fiorentina."
Source: Sporting Life