Spain are plainly painful to watch, says Richard Buxton
Del Bosque continues to face more questions than answers as he rebuilds the squad
(Lorenzo Insigne 67)
(Aritz Aduriz 70)
Change was what was promised in the wake of Spain's pitiful World Cup defence, two summers ago.
As they prepare to defend their one remaining crown, at Euro 2016 in June, such upheaval appears no closer than it did in the Maracana Stadium.
Evidence in Udine yesterday morning (Singapore time) suggests that Vicente del Bosque continues to face far more questions than answers in his plans to usher in a new era.
Neither of these Euro 2012 finalists emerged from Brazil with much, if any credit, having both failed to make it beyond the group stage, but Spain's humiliation and soul-searching was undeniably greater as the dethroned world champions.
In the wake of national outcry, del Bosque offered his resignation. Its subsequent rejection has seen Spain's renaissance forged on the principles of Felipe Gonzalez.
Losing as much as winning, the country's most successful Prime Minister once claimed, can prove a source of both stability and strength.
That progress has been marginal at best.
Though a comfortable qualification campaign was successfully negotiated with a five-point gap to spare, dilemmas continue to exist.
The identity of del Bosque's first-choice striker ahead of this summer's finals in France remains a source for ongoing agonism.
At a time when Diego Costa remains widely condemned, Spain were far poorer for the absence of the Chelsea striker's maverick tendencies.
Their failure to register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes against Italy, a feat previously accomplished in late 2013 when they played Belarus in a World Cup qualifier, laid that predicament bare.
Aritz Aduriz's belated return to La Furia Roja spared their blushes but failed to offer a truly compelling case that he should lead the line in their European Championship defence in three months' time.
The Athletic Bilbao marksman is enjoying a renewed lease of life, with an impressive 31 goals in La Liga this season.
But, at 35 and with a six-year gulf between his international bow and subsequent recall, he failed to capitalise on his moment in the spotlight.
Alvaro Morata, similarly, struggled to cope with the intensity of Italy's high-pressing midfield - Juventus' front-man appearing either too well-known or, just as likely, ill equipped to combat players he faces on a weekly basis in Serie A.
An absence of quality in depth elsewhere was equally noticeable. Denied the presence of Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets in the heart of the side, their stand-ins failed to offer little in the way of alternatives to the experienced Barcelona pacesetters.
Possession proved elusive for large parts, with Cesc Fabregas and Mikel San Jose struggling to maintain Spain's often vice-like grip on proceedings.
Fabregas, in particular, fluffed his lines in a first audition before potential new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
Defence, however, has emerged as one area where selection headaches have been transformed into a mere formality.
As has so often proved the case for Manchester United this term, David de Gea regularly came to his country's aid.
Conceding Spain's first goal in over 692 minutes should do little to deter his coronation as Iker Casillas' successor.
The former Real Madrid stopper may continue to hold the captaincy, but lacks the authority exuded by his former understudy.
Unlike de Gea's opposite number Gianluigi Buffon, still going strong at 38, Casillas has become a largely forgotten figure since moving to Porto last year.
The changing of that particular guard has accelerated since de Gea's last international outing last October.
Others must soon follow suit to ensure that Spain's Euro 2016 defence is not another passive one.
"I got the answers I was looking for, but we have to keep our heads down and keep on working with the enthusiasm that the lads have been showing. I can promise this to all the Italian people: we will have a team, and a great group of players, who want to fight for this shirt."
— Italy coach Antonio Conte, saying Azzurri fans can expect a cohesive and patriotic Italy side at Euro 2016
Under Antonio Conte, 15 players have already scored for Italy — the last 10 Azzurri’s goals were netted by 10 different players.