Spain went through 7-6 on penalties after a goalless draw, but Italy were the better side for large parts of the clash.
“It went badly and it’s disappointing, as we put in a great performance against the world and European champions,” Italys midfielder Christian Maggio told Rai Sport.
“Fate went against us again. Now we will play for third place with heads held high, hoping next time it will go better.
“At certain times of the game we were superior. Spain are always Spain, but we had that extra determination for 120 minutes. As usual, we have problems on penalty shoot-outs, but we’re on the right track.”
Defender Giorgio Chiellini felt his side missed an opportunity to avenge their 4-0 thrashing to Spain in the Euro 2012 final.
“We are disappointed by the result, as we had confidence and knew the Euro 2012 Final was not really us,” the Juventus stopper said.
“It was affected by a crazy fixture list, as you can’t have three days to recover from a semi-final to a final.
“We were confident we’d have a good game and in all honesty it went better than expected, as if there was a team that should’ve won tonight it was us.
“There are regrets, as we should have been 2-0 up by half-time. Obviously as the energy levels drop and fatigue sets in, you can get sliced apart by players like Andres Iniesta, especially when losing Andrea Barzagli to injury.
“In extra time I couldn’t wait for it to end, as I was wrecked. The heat was incredible, we were struggling to breathe and could barely finish the match.
“It’s a shame and we go out with heads held high, but Spain should’ve been in that position rather than us. At the moment all we feel is frustration.”
Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli was more even-handed in his analysis, pointing out that – while his side created chances – Spain are the best team in the world and thus will always be favourites in a tight contest.
“We had a great performance and were in it from start to finish, creating many scoring opportunities,” Prandelli said.
“But Spain are ahead of us because they have worked on these concepts for many years, while we are still seeking our path. In terms of character, determination and tactics, we are improving.”
- Sports & Recreation