Donadoni 'close to dismissal' after Italy exit

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Roberto Donadoni's time in charge of Italy is expected to end within a week following the world champions' Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat by Spain, Italian media were reporting yesterday.

La Gazzetta dello Sport said Donadoni would be sacked today, while the ANSA news agency said the Italian football federation (FIGC) would probably meet the coach next week to discuss terminating the contract.

Donadoni is set to be replaced by his predecessor, the 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, according to local media. However, the FIGC denied a BBC report that Donadoni had already been dismissed. "There is nothing official," an FIGC spokesman said. Donadoni signed a two-year contract extension just before the tournament but FIGC would be able to terminate that now at a reduced cost thanks to an escape clause valid for 10 days from the end of Italy's campaign.

Donadoni said on Sunday: "Resign? The thought would never even enter my brain. I don't have a reason. We only lost a game on penalties. You can't say things work when you win but don't work when you lose on penalties. It doesn't make any sense to talk about whether I deserve to carry on."

The Italian federation president, Giancarlo Abete, gave no clues as to whether his coach would be retained when asked after the defeat on Sunday. "Over the next few days we will reflect and make a decision about this," he said.