Reaction to defending World Champions Italy’s World Cup departure has been vitriolic. “Shame” screamed one headline while others invoked the black of mourning and likened the team to mouldy mozzarella.
Under-fire coach Marcello Lipi has copped the blame for what many slam as a footballing fiasco – but an apology from him is unlikely to be enough.
“It’s embarrassing, we left so many good players at home. The team wasn’t organised properly on the pitch, I didn’t like it.” said one disillusioned fan near the Victor Emmanuel monument in Rome.
“We have to realise our winning streak is over. It always ends at some point but its difficult to take on board when it happens.” said another, as he stopped his moped at the traffic lights.“We didn’t have the luck we had in 2006, but maybe we were stronger then. There are other reasons why we lost out this time around. In any case, it’s a sport, you win some, you lose some.” was the sanguine opinion of a third.
After last night’s game, Italy’s disgraced players returned to their hotel in the team bus, which carries the slogan “our Blues in the African sky”.
And they certainly will be in the sky soon – on the plane taking them home.