Bitterness and seething resentment at an opportunity lost were the chief emotions among the Italy squad after seeing their World Cup dream die at the hands of Scotland in a rainy St Etienne.
The Azzurri have been way below par all tournament, but managed to slightly raise their game in the Pool C eliminator against Frank Hadden's men.
Ultimately, they were put to the sword by the unerring accuracy of Chris Paterson, the Scotland winger who kicked all six of his penalties in a scrappy 18-16 victory.
David Bortolussi, who booted 11 points, had the chance to win the game for the Italians, but the full-back's 76th-minute penalty drifted wide and with it disappeared his country's hopes.
Overall, Bortolussi was on target with just three of his six penalty attempts and that proved to be the difference.
Italy number eight Sergio Parisse said: 'This is the biggest disappointment I have had as a player.
'This will be very difficult to erase. We missed a couple of kicks that could have given us the win.
'It makes you angry to lose, and to lose by one or two points leaves you with a bitter feeling.'
That feeling of bitterness extended to centre Gonzalo Canale.
'Having been so close and having missed a couple of penalties, you leave with a bitter taste in your mouth,' added the Clermont-Auvergne midfielder.
'We didn't think for a single minute that we couldn't win this match, but we haven't.'
Based on their group performances, Italy quite frankly did not deserve a place in the quarter-finals, no matter how gutsy their effort was in St Etienne.
After being steamrollered by New Zealand in their opener, they scraped past group minnows Romania 24-18 and Portugal 31-5, failing to claim bonus points in the process.
They would have been hoping to prove in this tournament that they were worthy of a place on world rugby's top table, but that is still open to question.
Captain Marco Bortolami, who missed the decider because of a neck injury, is adamant his men will come back a stronger force at future World Cups.
'We have improved a lot, but it was not enough,' said the Gloucester lock.
'We have learned a lot. Ours is a team of young players and we will reach high levels in the future.'