Italy in turmoil as Cesare Prandelli resigns as manager

NATAL, June 24: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli and federation president Giancarlo Abete left Italian football rudderless on Tuesday as both announced their resignations after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup.

Despite Abete claiming he would try to convince Prandelli not to quit his post, the 56-year-old Italy handler was unequivocal.

“I will not go back on my decision,” said Prandelli.

Italy crashed out after a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay which left them third in Group D.

Abete said his decision had been made prior to the tournament, which saw Italy fail to reach the second round for the second successive edition.

“I’d already taken this decision prior to the World Cup,” said Abete.

“I think we need time to reflect.”

The double resignation came shortly after Italy’s failure to make the last 16 for the second successive tournament.

The Azzurri were left with 10 men after midfielder Claudio Marchisio saw red in the second half for a studs-up challenge.

The end of the game was also marred by claims that Uruguay striker Luiz Suarez sank his teeth into the shoulder of defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Prandelli said: “I did not see the incident. I did see the bite marks on Chiellini’s shoulder.”

The 56-year-old Prandelli, however, was more vociferous about Marchisio’s sending off, which he claimed changed their whole tournament.

“You have to accept defeats, but when they are decided by wrong decisions it is hard to accept,” he added.

“There was no need to show a red card. It caused a downward spiral that changed the match and led to us being eliminated from the World Cup.”

Had Italy avoided defeat, Prandelli would probably not have resigned, he indicated.

Asked about the relatively poor performance of striker Mario Balotelli — who was substitiuted at half-time — Prandelli added: “Balotelli – that’s a technical issue. I chose him, I chose a certain technical plan and it did not work.

“I take all responsibility for our failure, which, among other things, is down to our limitations in quality.

“It’s useless for me to sit here and say I could have done it differently

“This is why I’m resigning.”

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