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Worthington resigns as bid for Euros falls apart

Nigel Worthington will step down as Northern Ireland manager following tonight's match against Italy after admitting recent results had left him no option. Worthington, who has been in charge since Lawrie Sanchez left in 2007, has been under increasing pressure after a home defeat to Serbia and back-to-back losses against Estonia.

That wrecked any chance the side had of securing a Euro 2012 play-off and they face Italy lying fifth in Group C, ahead of only the Faroe Islands.

Speaking yesterday, having informed the squad of his decision, Worthington said: "The situation is that as from tomorrow night I will step down as manager of the national team. Up until three games to go we were in a very good position but, through no one's fault, sometimes the game of football throws you a raw hand. I feel the time has come after four-and -a-half years, which have been fantastic for me as an individual."