GIOVANNI Trapattoni had no answer for Ireland's collapse against Spain and blamed his players for showing fear in the face of Vicente del Bosque's magnificent midfield.
Speaking entirely in Italian for the first time in four years, Trapattoni went to some lengths to question the confidence and morale of his players.
He said: "I didn't see fear in training, I didn't see this fear and tension in the side. This is a clear symptom of a side when they take on a competition, either you feel inferior or a bit concerned and you make basic errors. It happened against Croatia and again against Spain.
"If I compare these finals with qualifying something has changed, our determination has changed. There was fear, tension and they made mistakes which we didn't see at all before -- even against sides like France, Argentina and Brazil. We could see the weight on their shoulders.
"Our fitness and our technique was good in training but quite clearly that wasn't the case in the game.
"We showed fear. I'm very sad. They gave it their all. I'm sad for our fans. They cheered us in the most difficult times and we thank them for that."
Trap added the plan to pack midfield and hit Spain on the break had backfired after Fernando Torres scored in the fourth minute.
"We already said we were expecting to have to help out our midfielders because we knew they were better in midfield and at the same time trying to get support to Robbie Keane up front.
"Unfortunately, we gave away an early goal for a second time and that throws any tactical plan out of the window and makes the task very difficult indeed. It is very, very difficult getting back into the game while you are conceding space to an opponent which is already very good technically.
"Spain are like an orchestra and involve everyone in the way they move the ball. They very rarely miss passes and they don't need to use a lot of energy.
"But I am very disappointed. I have to say, the lads did everything within their power but we made the same mistakes against Spain as we did against Croatia."
However, the Italian sounded a note of optimism as he looked forward to Ireland's final game against Italy and the future.
"We need to keep our morale up. I need to support my players. I know what their limits are and we need to move forward. I wouldn't be a good coach if I didn't do that."