Poland, who also had three players booked, rocked the Italians after just four minutes with a goal from Andrzej Juskowiak.
Italy lost their cool as they struggled to find a way past the well-organised Polish defence, four players being shown the yellow card in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Worse was to follow in the second half. First, Ryszard Staniek put Poland 2-0 ahead and then Luca Luzardi, for a second bookable offence, and Eugenio Corini, for a bad foul, were sent off. Three minutes into injury time Grzegorz Mielcarski added a third goal that virtually sealed a quarter-final place for the Poles.
The Italians should join them in the last eight, but they will be without Luzardi and Vorini - and Demetrio Albertini who was booked for the second time in the tournament - for their final group match against Kuwait.
In last night's other Group A game the United States came from behind to beat Kuwait 3-1 to give themselves an outside chance of reaching the quarter- finals.
Spain, who had two players sent off in their opening match against Colombia, were better behaved as they easily beat Egypt
2-0 in group B to reach the quarter-finals. Colombia are likely to join them as are Denmark and Ghana from Group D and Korea and Morocco from Group C.Reuse content