AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo believes that Italy's fans can be proud of the team's Euro 2012 campaign despite a 4-0 defeat to Spain in the final on Sunday evening.
The Azzurri found themselves on the back foot for most of the match as Spain took a two-goal lead before half-time, before adding another two late in the game to become the first team to claim back-to-back Euro titles and the first to win three consecutive major international tournaments.
It was also the biggest win in a European Championship or World Cup final, and while Montolivo admitted that the result against La Roja was disappointing, he took positives from the team's campaign in Poland and Ukraine.
"I think Italy can be proud of us because we had a good tournament, we showed all the Italians that we tried our best and failed only at the final step. Still, it hurts a lot," he told Goal.com.
"What happened is that Spain played better than us, they made the most of their chances and they are impossible to beat when that happens. It is true that the game was balanced in terms of possession, but they were better in every aspect.
"It hurts because I think we had a good tournament. I also think that we were not at 100 per cent physically, maybe we could not recover from the little time we had to rest in between matches.
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"We also had bad luck with injuries. When Thiago Motta left the field, the game was over," he bemoaned.
The Azzurri will now turn their focus to the World Cup 2014 qualifiers where they have been grouped with Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia and Malta.
"I think we have a good team for the future, but we will think about that from tomorrow, this is not the time yet," Montolivo added.