France coach Raymond Domenech admitted Zinedine Zidane's moment of madness cost Les Bleus the World Cup.
Zidane was sent off 20 minutes into extra time for butting Marco Materazzi in the chest, and after the match ended 1-1 Italy went on to win the penalty shoot-out 5-3, with David Trezeguet missing the crucial kick.
France captain Zidane had given his side the lead from the penalty spot in the seventh minute after Materazzi had tripped Florent Malouda, but the Italy defender headed an equaliser 12 minutes later.
However, Domenech was furious with Materazzi and he claimed referee Horacio Elizondo only produced the red card after the fourth official had seen a video replay.
He said: "The sending-off of Zidane changed the match, that was the key moment of the game.
"We had been playing better than Italy in extra time and you could see they were just waiting for penalties.
"It was a pity that we were without Zidane for the last ten minutes, it affected our balance and perhaps it should not have happened."
Domenech added: "The referee was not on our side. I don't know what Materazzi told Zidane - all I know is that the man of the match was not Andrea Pirlo but Materazzi. He scored the equaliser and he had Zidane sent off.
"It's sad, it's a pity. He [Materazzi] really put on a great show when he fell down, we know how these things work."
Domenech said that Zidane regretted what had happened but refused to say if he had apologised.
The France coach added: "I don't mention what happens inside the group, I will not speak on behalf of the players.
"Of course it's sad having a great player like Zidane being sent off. Something must have happened but I don't know what."
Domenech also criticised referee Elizondo, the same official who sent off England's Wayne Rooney against Portugal.
He claimed: "The referee saw nothing, the assistant referee saw nothing and then we have the fourth official seeing the video replay and telling the referee."
Domenech also refused to speculate on his future.
He added: "I'll think about that in two or three days' time when I've had a rest and start to forget this very big disappointment.
"We have the meeting of the French federation on Tuesday and the president will say what has been decided, but this is not important now, I'm not worried about that now, I'm disappointed.
"It's not enough for me that we made the final, I thought we should have won."
He also admitted France had no exact plan in place for the shoot-out.
Domenech said: "Zidane is the first one to shoot normally but him not being there shouldn't change it that much. We have no particular plan when it comes to penalties, it depends who is on the pitch and who feels that they want to take them."
Italy coach Marcello Lippi defended Materazzi after he came under fire from Domenech for his reaction to Zidane's butt.
Lippi said: "You will realise that it was not Materazzi who got the attention of the referee.
"It was the fourth and fifth officials looking at the video at the edge of the pitch.
"We did not do anything. They saw it and they called the attention of the referee.
"When the French fans see television tomorrow they will see what happened and they will think differently. Mater-azzi was not acting. He took a blow and he was hurt."
Lippi paid tribute to Zidane's career and urged him to rethink his decision to retire.
He added: "I am sorry because I hold him in great esteem. I told him that before the game. I was sorry for him to go. It is a shame if he goes on this note. That is if he does go because I told him before the game that he should not retire." ..SUPL: