Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss described his team's 3-2 victory over Italy as the second-best day of his life following the birth of his son, Vladimir junior.
The eastern Europeans, making their debut in the finals, upset the odds to eliminate the world champions, whose coach Marcello Lippi accepted full responsibility for the Italian defeat at Ellis Park. Robert Vittek's brace set them on the way and although Antonio Di Natale gave Italy hope, a disallowed goal by Fabio Quagliarella proved decisive as Kamil Kopunek made it 3-1. A brilliant chip from Quagliarella in injury time proved to be mere consolation for the Azzurri.
Weiss and co now take on Holland in the last 16 and the coach said: "It was a fantastic day for us. We had good preparation for the match with the staff and the players, and, after the birth of my son, it's the second-best day of my life.
"I want to say thanks to the people of Slovakia who followed us to South Africa. I am very proud of my team, they played a very high level for 80 minutes. There was big pressure in the last 10 minutes but we played a fantastic game and the better team won."
Italy coach Lippi would no doubt go along with Weiss' view as his final game came earlier than expected. He had always intended to step down after the finals, and will now be succeeded by former Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli. Lippi has no doubt that the quality is there for Italy to succeed and that it was his motivational skills which were lacking.
"I still believe in (the team) very strongly, it was not a matter of overestimating them," he said.
"You can't believe that this Italian team is the team you saw out there, I believe this group could have done better than it did. Evidently I have failed to do what was necessary. It's always the head, the leader, who takes responsibility. I played an important part in the good results we achieved in the past, likewise right now I was not able to create the psychological conditions to keep the team going."
Asked how difficult it would be for Italy to recover from this exit, Lippi added: "I don't know how difficult it is going to be, I wish the new coach all the best. As far as the rest is concerned, they are important professionals of a certain standard we are talking about. In the past I was able to create the right dynamics, the right mix. I failed to do that this time around and I deeply regret that."