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Lippi quits as Italy coach

Written by: Staff

ROME, July 12: Italy's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi has resigned, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced today.

The 58-year-old Lippi led the Azzurri to their fourth World Cup title, first since 1982, on Sunday when they beat France on penalties in the final in Berlin.

''At the end of an extraordinary professional and human experience at the head of an exceptional group of players, and with the collaboration of a first-rate staff, I believe I have come to the end of my role as coach of the Italian national team,'' he said in a statement on the FIGC's web site.

''I have, therefore, communicated to the FIGC my wish to leave my post at the end of my contract (on July 31).'' Lippi took over from Giovanni Trapattoni in July 2004 after Italy's disappointing exit in the group stages of Euro 2004.

In two years under Lippi's guidance, Italy lost only twice -- a 2-0 defeat on his debut against Iceland and a 1-0 loss to Slovenia, both in 2004.

''I would like to thank the FIGC for the faith they showed in me in these two years of work, crowned with a result that will remain in the history of Italian football and in the hearts of all the fans,'' Lippi said.

He did not reveal his plans for the future.

In the past few days Italian media had speculated that Lippi was about to leave his post.

He was said to be tired of hearing his name mentioned in connection with the match-fixing scandal involving four top Serie A clubs, including champions Juventus, with whom he won five Serie A titles and the 1996 Champions League in two stints as coach between 1994 and 2004.

FIGC vice-president Giancarlo Abete thanked Lippi for his ''extraordinary professionalism and for his ability to lead the team in the context of the great difficulties known to all.'' He revealed Lippi's decision had been taken some time ago.

''Lippi told me during the group stages that he had not taken on any professional commitments for the future and that he had already decided, whatever the result of the World Cup, to leave as coach of the national team at the end of his contract,'' Abete said.


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