Patrizia Panico could scarcely conceal her despair after Italy slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Germany and missed out on a semi-final spot at Sweden 2013.
The veteran forward was left frustrated by her team's display at the Växjö Arena, where she felt Antonio Cabrini's squad should have been more adventurous. Team-mate Elisa Bartoli was less despondent, having surprised even herself by featuring heavily in her country's run to the last eight.
After creeping cautiously into the tournament with a goalless draw against Finland which confirmed the defensive solidity they had shown in qualifying, Cabrini's side took a big stride towards the quarter finals with a 2-1 defeat of Denmark.
The scoreline of their 3-1 reverse at the hands of Sweden in the final Group A encounter did not reflect the cruel nature of the Azzurre's own-goal opener, which gave the hosts free rein to make best use of their attacking talents, but nor did it prevent them from finishing as section runners-up.
Though there were signs of their defensive qualities against Germany, Italy were unable to make sufficient impact at the opposite end of the pitch to reduce the deficit created by Simone Laudehr's goal. They thus fell at the last-eight hurdle for the second successive edition, with Germany once again proving too big an obstacle to clear.
Patrizia Panico, Italy forward
Perhaps it's fair as it is, considering we didn't get many shots in. They scored another stupid goal because we're always conceding goals like that. In the first half, we were maybe a bit more aggressive, but we didn't get it right on the break. When we had the chance to strike, we weren't able to do it.
It's hard to say that they were so good at the back because we practically never got close enough to their goal. I think we lacked courage, especially in winning the ball back and breaking again. We wasted all of our counterattacks; they fizzled out in our own half and we just never got the ball forward in the second half. We got our crossing wrong a few times, but Germany got a lot more players in the box in the second half so it's fair enough this way.
Clearly we weren't able to win against this Germany because we're clearly not such a great side either. Getting into the knockout phase was certainly a good result. Of course, it's not an exceptional result – it's the same as four years ago. We got Germany again in the quarter-finals and this time we felt we were a little bit better, but they have proved themselves to be better than us with one goal.
Elisa Bartoli, Italy defender
You always try to win and fight to the end every time you play and only one team can come out on top. Sadly, it wasn't us, even if we still played a good game and tried to push them far up the field because we knew that if we just sat back and waited for them, then they would cause us problems.
Unfortunately, we conceded from a corner and because they are physically a lot stronger, we were particularly worried about set pieces. The goal came from a corner and we could do nothing about it. We tried to react but couldn't.
We held our own well in the first half and we had some big chances to level, and we hit the crossbar. In the second half, maybe we suffered a bit more, but we always tried to get back into this game. Germany did not have any huge chances, just some from corners or free-kicks. But we expected that. Apart from that, we played well, even if unfortunately we conceded from a corner.
I didn't expect even to be here so to play three games – I need to thank the coach who showed faith in me and I hope that, giving it my best the way I did, he felt a bit justified in picking me. We could have tried to get even further, I think, but unfortunately we didn't succeed.
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