Italy had last made the last 16 in 2006, the year when they won their fourth crown by beating France in the final. In 2010, as the defending champions, Italy failed to qualify from a group that comprised teams like Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand, which are placed much below in world rankings and ended at the bottom of the table. They failed to win a single match and even lost to Slovakia.
This year, Italy managed to win just one match when they defeated England 2-1 in their opening game but lost the two remaining matches to Costa Rica and Uruguay, hence crashing out of the tournament by finishing in the third spot.
Italy had crashed out after the 1st round in the 1950 & '54 and '62 & '66 WCs
However, this is not the first time that Italy have achieved such dubious distinction of getting eliminated from the group stage in two consecutive World Cups. The Azzurris had crashed out at the preliminary stage of the World Cup in the 1950 and 1954 editions and again in 1962 and 1966 editions. In all, Italy have failed to cross the first hurdle in seven out of the 18 World Cups they have played till date.
After winning the cup in 1938, the Italians had to wait for 32 years to go into the second round again. However, in 36 years between 1974 and 2010, Italy have made it to the second round in every World Cup.