Shinji Kagawa was left to rue what might have been as Japan tumbled out of the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.
The Blue Samurai squandered a two-goal lead to eventually lose 4-3 to Italy in their second group stage match in Recife, Brazil, leaving Manchester United ace Kagawa with a sour taste in his mouth.
"At 2-0 up we felt there were some chances for us but it was psychologically hard for us," said Kagawa who produced a Man of the Match performance.
"Finally we had the late blow of their winner and so we are sad. But Italy seized the chances they had and that was the difference.
"For my goal I swivelled and hit it with my left foot. I was in the right place and I was in luck to score."
Japan skipped away to a two-goal lead thanks to Keisuke Honda’s 21st minute penalty and Kagawa’s fine finish just after the half-hour mark but were pegged back four minutes before half-time when Daniele De Rossi powerfully headed home Andrea Pirlo’s cross.
After being outplayed for most of the first half, Italy managed to level courtesy of Atsuto Uchida’s own-goal in the 50th minute before Mario Balotelli fired the Azzurri ahead from the spot after Makoto Hasebe was harshly judged for handball.
Shinji Okazaki levelled for the Blue Samurai with just over 20 minutes remaining but Sebastian Giovinco gave Italy all three points with a late winner.
The Azzurri now sit second behind hosts Brazil after two matches whilst Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan will now prepare for a dead rubber with fellow winless side Mexico this weekend.