The family group chat buzzed only occasionally. We set it up to share our thoughts during the last European Nations and kept it alive for the joy and desperation that only following the Azzurri can provide. Throughout the World Cup in Russia, however, it sat as an all-too-often-silent reminder of Italy's failure to qualify for the first time in a generation or two.
By and large, we agreed, this was a tournament that we would not be watching. People can sometimes mistake us for fans of football in general, but it is really only the green-white-and-red variety that gets our pulses racing. No Nazionale, no party. We, like Andrea Pirlo, were not impressed.
What to make, then, of the events unfolding before our eyes? Yes, we took glee in the demise of some of our old rivals, but that has a hollow feeling compared with celebrating a victory. Like dining on any cuisine other than our own - no matter how good it might be - we knew deep down we were selling ourselves short.
You could watch for your Serie A favourites, of course, and they gave us some entertainment along the way, plus all the free bet offers online. Who knew - when the tournament kicked off - that Juventini would be celebrating the signing of a man who so insensitively booted them out of the Champions League just a few weeks earlier? Would anyone have suspected that Inter would continue their proud record of having a player in every Final since 1982? And what on earth must Milan flop Nikola Kalinic have been thinking when he watched his countrymen compete for international football's biggest prize while he sat kicking his heels at home?
His regrets were probably only trumped by our own as we watched the side that conquered Giampiero Ventura's troops march on to an improbable quarter-final. I admit, Sweden surprised me at these championships, as I somewhat churlishly forecast they would fail to score a single goal. Hats off to them for getting so far, although that only fuelled more "what might have been" messages among Italy fans.
It's no use, of course, dwelling on that as it ends up being something of a dead-end debate anyway. The standard of football on display - in general - did not look breathtaking, but we would do well to remember just how poor we were in qualification and how effortlessly France dismissed us in their warm-up.
The players and potential are there - if correctly nurtured and organised - to put those famous shirts back where they belong in time. However, for now, we have to sup on this most bitter post-tournament amaro without complaint.
It has been more relaxing, yes, that I must confess. None of the agitation and emotion that a major competition usually stirs up was provided over the past month. Instead, I watched most games dispassionately and coolly studied the strengths and weaknesses of the sides involved. I admired their talent and decried their shortcomings. I watched their fates decided in the maelstrom of penalty kicks. And, dear Lord, how boring I found it all.
Not, of course, for the countries involved - but for we Azzurri fans it has been a torturous four weeks or so. Most of us have never known a World Cup without at least some group stage involvement and agonising elimination. Many can remember seeing the trophy lifted once or possibly twice in their lifetime. Our enforced abstinence from battle this year has been like uncorking the best bottle in your cellar and then watching someone else drink it.
So please, everyone with anything to do with Italian football, do everything in your power to get us to Qatar in four years’ time when the next one rolls around because this is not an experience any of us is keen to repeat. For all the anguish and heartache you sometimes provide, we'd still prefer it to this emptiness. We need that fire of delight and despair that only the boys in blue can provide. Give us back those intense moments of celebration and commiseration that we lost out on this time. We've missed that magical madness - one summer like this one is more than enough.
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