"I take full and complete responsibility for what happened. I took the decisions, I had the power and I got it wrong. I thought we were prepared, evidently I was wrong."
Nope, the buck stopped with Lippi. And so it should. Because no matter what excuses or mitigating circumstances you care to conjure up, what happened is simply not acceptable. World champions do not finish last in group stages. Certainly not in groups where the competition is -- with all due respect -- Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.
Lippi has to bear responsibility because, for two years, he had absolute control over the national team, doing whatever he thought best with the near total backing of the Italian FA. He never gave
Tactically, his insistence on
The above are all fair indictments of Lippi. The rest are somewhat more debatable and of the "hindsight is 20/20" variety. Could he have used
"This is pretty much it," Buffon said after the game. "This is what we are. We'd like to think we can do better and I think we should have done better, but, maybe we're wrong. Maybe we need to take a step back and accept the basic fact: we're not that good."
That's not a surprise. We knew Italy wasn't that good, certainly not on a par with Spain or Brazil or even Argentina and England. What is surprising is that Italy would be this bad. And, make no mistake about it, had Italy squeezed through in the next round -- either because the linesman disallowed