Crocked Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon says Italy deserved World Cup elimination yesterday. The Azzurri crashed out in the first round after a 3-2 defeat, which saw Slovakia go through along with Paraguay.

"It is only right that Italy go home," he said.

"Slovakia and New Zealand are teams to be respected and nothing more. If we don't beat at least one of them, then we have no place here."

Marcello Lippi's return after the 2006 triumph proved disastrous, but Buffon defends his Coach.

"I saw he really wanted to do well and prepared every game with dedication. He knew it was going to be his last World Cup.

"The problem is that between 2006 and 2010 we have lost players like Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti, among others."

"Having said that, without doubt we could've done better with the players at our disposal. We all have to take a long, hard look at ourselves and we know that we have disappointed the nation.

"I thought some of the media criticism was over the top, such as suggesting the Nazionale was old or that the Coach would not give space to the youngsters. In the end I think everyone got a chance, but some areas of the media were too quick to crush some players who could've been useful."