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Lippi replaces Donadoni as Italy coach
June 26, 2008 23:27 IST
Italy [Images] recalled 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi on Thursday to replace Roberto Donadoni, the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) said.
"Marcello Lippi returns to the helm of the national team," the FIGC said in a statement.
Donadoni was told he had lost his job earlier on Thursday at a meeting with FIGC president Giancarlo Abete after the world champions exited Euro 2008 [Images] in a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat by Spain on Sunday.
The FIGC did not have to formally dismiss the 44-year-old as the two-year contract extension he signed just before the tournament was conditional on Italy reaching the semi-finals.
"The Federation considers the contractual relationship with Roberto Donadoni to have run out at its natural expiry date," an earlier statement read.
"I'm very, very happy and I'm very motivated," Lippi told the ANSA news agency after his appointment was announced.
Lippi has not worked since the World Cup triumph in Germany [Images] and his presence on the sidelines cast a shadow over Donadoni since he took his place in July 2006.
But Donadoni also paid the price for the Azzurri's tired and uninspiring showing at Euro 2008, where they won just one game from four.
"I'm sorry that a penalty has determined this situation," the former Italy and AC Milan midfielder was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport's Web site (www.gazzetta.it).
"In these two years my Italy team have done something positive. One match cannot wipe that out."
Lippi, 60, will be presented at a news conference on Tuesday and his first match will be a friendly against Austria in Nice on August 20.
Italy then start their World Cup qualifying campaign in Cyprus on September 6 and at home to Georgia on September 10.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008