What I've realised in this forum and football fans in general is that they don't see the difference between playing home and away matches. They think that's its all the same, 'we won against Wales 4-0 then we would easily beat S&M', without really giving much attention to the venue being played in. It doesn't make much difference between club and international level, but playing away from your 'home' is much more difficult than playing in your stadium which you are very accustomed to. Arsenal were famous for winning all home matches but never winning an away match in Europe for a period of around 2 years !! Imagine yourself a student doing a test in your school and then suddenly were asked travel a long distance and do the same test in a different school with totally different surroundings, your bound to do better in the test taken in your school because you are more comfortable there. Not to mention that in football terms, opposing fans also come into the equation and make alot of difference as they stimulate your opposing players and try to give you a hard time.
I also noticed another thing - unrealistic expectations. After the Wales match the team was praised and was suddenly favourites to win Euro2004 itself in Portugal (next summer). And after 3 days - after the match against S&M - Italy are now not good enough and couldn't possibly achieve that task !!
Anyway, about the match itself I think it's a good result for an 'away' match being played in a very difficult place like Belgrade. We nearly won it but the lack of concentration towards the end totally cost us. It was clear that Del Piero, Vieri, and Zambrotta were tired from the Wales match as they put alot of effort in that match. Our defensive midfield pair (Perrota+Tacchi) also disappointed and were to blame for the somehow shaky performance last night. We can't say that the players didn't give their best, because it was clear that they were playing with heart and were battling for every ball. The Wales-Finland result concluded to our favour, and now we only need to beat Azerbaijan in Reggio Calabria to go to Portugal. Much better than playing Turkey away (England) or even playing in dangerous play-offs (Holland) !!