Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Italian soccer boss Abete fails to give Donadoni his backing

AFP , VIENNA

Italy Football Federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete failed to back coach Roberto Donadoni after his team's Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat on penalties against Spain.

Donadoni had claimed he was proud of his players and said they had done all they could have, but the FIGC president refused to back him publicly.

“I had already talked to Roberto Donadoni before this game ... and we had already established that after the game we will assess together the outcome of the European Championships,” he said. “So for the next few days we will meet and discuss what’s going to happen. Tonight [Sunday] I want to thank the team and head coach because, although we lost, we have certainly done Italian football proud. We lost on penalties, but on other occasions we won on penalties, such as the [2006] World Cup [final against France]. As you’ve seen in the quarter-finals they were all close, with only one being decided in the 90 minutes.”

However, when pressed on giving a definite answer on Donadoni’s future, Abete side-stepped the issue.

“I can say that in the next few days we will meet and talk about it,” he said. “Today we’ve gone out, so in the next few days we will retrace our steps and discuss elements and specific incidents. But obviously my role and function must be balanced as the president of the Italian Federation. Over the last few months I could not and I cannot now express any kind of definitive position on Donadoni.”

“I couldn’t and shouldn’t say anything about his qualities as a head coach or as a person, I am just thinking about Italy as a team,” he said. “We the federation have tried to support the team as much as possible and over the next few days we will discuss the prospects for the national team in terms of the objectives we set ourselves.”

Asked if he agreed with his coach that the competition had been a positive one, his answer was ominous for Donadoni — whose side only won one of their four matches, beating 10-man France 2-0, while losing 3-0 to the Netherlands and drawing 1-1 with Romania.

“It’s positive in terms of the quality of the group of players and I’m pleased with the great bond created in the group, but we are aware that our overall capacity and skills have certainly not reached the level that we expected,” he said.

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