|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Italy coach Marcello Lippi admitted Italy's failure to progress beyond the group stage of the World Cup was down to him.
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Thursday's 3-2 defeat to Slovakia in Johannesburg left Italy, the reigning world champions, bottom of Group F and heading home without a single victory.
"I take all responsibility, because if a team arrives at such an important appointment as this with terror in their legs, heads and hearts, unable to express themselves, then it means the coach has not prepared the squad properly on any level," Lippi said.
"There are tactical and physical issues, too, but I think above all it is to do with the psychological aspect. I felt this team could achieve something and evidently I did not prepare them properly. I expected everything but the first half performance."
Lippi, who guided the team to glory at the 2006 World Cup, was already set to leave at the end of the tournament. "I am very disappointed to end my second experience on the Italy bench like this," he admitted. "I certainly didn't expect it. I didn't think I'd win the World Cup a second time, but [did not expect] to crash out in the group phase.
"I wish my successor the best and thank all of you for these four years, which were in part fantastic and in part very, very disappointing."
Former Fiorentina and Roma coach Cesare Prandelli will take control of the Azzurri from July. The last World Cup holders to go home without reaching the knockout phase were France in 2002.