Italy crashed out of Euro 2016 on Saturday night after losing 6-5 on penalties in their quarter-finals clash with Germany.
Antonio Conte’s men had emerged as one of the story’s of the tournament with their memorable run to the last eight, overcoming the fact that they had a distinct lack of quality in their squad.
With the Italian media suggesting that it was the worst group in many years, Conte was able to galvanise his men and inspire them collectively to upset the odds in games against Belgium and Spain to ensure that they exceeded expectations.
Having come narrowly close to making the semi-finals, both Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli were left devastated after the loss.
The latter is set to retire from international football having now turned 35, while it will more than likely have been Buffon’s last European Championship with the 2018 World Cup arguably his last major international tournament before retirement.
It was obvious how much it meant to them in their post-game interviews, as coupled with the fact that the squad had given everything to advance, it was ultimately not enough and resulted in emotions running high with the pair left to reflect on a heartbreaking exit.
I really can't deal with Buffon in tears. pic.twitter.com/sBGWAUlVdv
— Gaby McKay (@GabyMcKay) July 2, 2016