Zambia's hopes of becoming only the second African nation to win the Under-20 World Cup are over after a 3-2 defeat to Italy on Monday.
A thrilling quarter-final tie in Suwon, South Korea, was settled in extra-time by a goal from Luca Vido.
The Zambians paid dearly for giving the Italian play-maker the freedom of the Zambian penalty area in the second period of extra-time.
The Zambians will also be kicking themselves for failing to take advantage of playing against 10 men following the expulsion of Giuseppe Pezzella just before half-time.
Pezzella received a straight red card for a professional foul on goal-bound Edward Chilufya.
Although the referee awarded Zambia a penalty before reversing his decision after consulting the video assistant referee, he still sent Pezzella off.
Zambia had got off to a dream start at the Suwon World Cup stadium when Patson Daka scored after just three minutes.
Daka found himself at the end of a glorious pass from Emmanuel Banda and beat Italian goalkeeper Andrea Zaccagno from close range.
Zambia could and should have doubled their advantage in the 14th minute when Emmanuel Banda's free-kick was blocked by Zaccagno but Chilufya and Fashion Sakala arrived late for the rebound.
But five minutes after the break, the Italians equalised when Riccardo Orsolini headed past Mangani Banda for his fourth goal of the tournament.
Six minutes from time Sakala's superb strike - his fourth goal of the campaign - looked to have won it for the reigning African champions.
But with a place in the semi-finals tantalisingly close, a brilliant free-kick by Federico Dimarco four minutes later sent the game into extra-time.
With penalties looming, Vido broke Zambian hearts when he put away one of the many chances that littered this thrilling contest.
The late strike not only knocked out Zambia but also sent the Italians into a semi-final showdown with England, who beat Mexico 1-0 in their quarter-final.