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AC Milan playmaker Pirlo: End of an era for Italy

AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo concedes Italy's World Cup humiliation marked the end of an era.

Italy crashed out of the World Cup in the group phase just four years after lifting the trophy in Berlin.

"We absolutely shamed ourselves," he said of the 3-2 loss to Slovakia. "We didn't win the game and the fault lies with everyone.

"We are a squad and the responsibility must be shared out between everybody."

With France also going out, this is the first time ever that the two Finalists from the previous tournament failed to progress past the group stage.

"Is it the end of an era? Yes, I think so," noted Pirlo. "However, I am at the Coach's disposal for the future."

Many of the 2006 stars are hanging up their international boots, including Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso.

Cesare Prandelli takes over from Marcello Lippi to begin qualifying for Euro 2012 this summer.

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