Football: Bitter end for Wales and Gould

Italy 4 Vieri 6, Inzaghi 36, Maldini 39,Chiesa 89 Wales 0 Half- time: 3-0 Attendance: 12,392
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The Independent Online
BOBBY GOULD tendered his resignation as the Welsh coach last night after witnessing his side lose heavily here in Italy. He said it was a decision he made immediately following the end of the game and "it is in the best interests of Welsh football".

Gould hurried down the tunnel at the Stadio Dall'Ara and straight away called for negotiations with leading councillors of the Football Association of Wales. Although they tried to persuade him not to go he was adamant that his near four-year reign should end on a balmy evening in Bologna.

It means that Wales will be under new management on Wednesday when they face Denmark with their hopes of qualifying for the European Championship finals in dire need of a quick fix. Gould has recommended that Neville Southall and Mark Hughes take over and they were talking to the FAW chief executive David Collins while the rest of the team were getting changed and trying to take stock of the news.

If it is not wholly unexpected - there were calls again from the Wales supporters here for the coach's head - then it was certainly a surprise how quickly events moved on. Gould said: "The next game is vital and if Wales are to qualify then it needs somebody else to take over. It's just a gut feeling I had having worked with the lads all week I sensed that something was missing. I'm sad, I've had a super time and now hopefully somebody else will help build on the foundations we have laid. I have told the players I want them to win and to get there [to the finals]and I don't think they can do it with me."

So rapidly did things progress that a financial agreement was struck for the remaining seven months of Gould's contract. The FAW would seem to have no choice but to proceed with the Southall-Hughes alliance but when the dust has settled they will turn their thoughts to a long-term successor, which could bring a recall for Terry Yorath. Other names that will be considered are Terry Venables, the Wrexham manager Brian Flynn and Tony Pulis of Gillingham.

The Gould reign has never strayed far from controversy and there have been several clashes with his players, firstly with the old guard and then with a relatively younger element who found it hard to adjust to his idiosyncratic methods. There were rumours before last night that the players had picked this team though that was firmly denied by Gould.

He will not leave with happy memories of his last game in charge, which without the excellent goalkeeping of Paul Jones could have been even worse.

Jones was beaten in the seventh minute by a Christian Vieiri header and after that the super-skilled Italians really went to town, scoring two more before half time through the outstanding Filippo Inzaghi who expertly evaded Andy Melville before scoring inside the near post. The third followed soon after from Paolo Maldini and with Wales failing even to register a single shot on target it fell to the substitute Enrico Chiesa to round things off in the final minute.