The Azzurri crashed out at the first round stage after a 3-2 loss to Slovakia saw them finish bottom of Group F.
"In the first half against Slovakia I saw that my teammates were pale and running on empty," Cannavaro told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I understood that we would not come out of that game and in my head the thought of it being my last match ever for Italy was throbbing stronger by the minute. I really didn't want it to end that way.
"I would have liked to have had a shot at the World Cup with Buffon and Pirlo, as well as Fabio Grosso and Luca Toni despite the difficulties they encountered in the past season."