Assessing Italy's World Cup journey

Italy were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages for the second tournament in a row, and ESPNFC blogger Mina Rzouki gives her verdict on what went wrong.

One sentence: World Cup recap

Another humiliatingly early World Cup exit shatters Italy's ideological project.

Star Man

Italy wishes it was Mario Balotelli, but while the forward disappointed them again, at least they had the great Andrea Pirlo to depend on.

Experienced, intelligent and mesmerising to watch, he was always the man Italy looked to for inspiration. Always moving to escape the pressure and find the space to launch another beautiful pass, his passes over the top, his stunning dummy against England, and his outstanding ability from free kicks that left his team with a chance of prevailing. However, most of all, it was how much he always believed in the team.

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