ITALY coach Cesare Prandelli has tendered his resignation in the wake of the country’s defeat by Uruguay which knocked the Azzurri out of the World Cup.
Scorers: Uruguay - Godin (81)
Bookings: Italy - Marchisio (sent off)
Prandelli announced at his post-match press conference: “I talked to the president of the federation.. and gave my resignation. The technical set-up didn’t work, and I take all responsibility for that. Something has changed since my contract was renewed. I don’t know why. I chose a certain technical plan and that’s why I’m resigning – because it did not work.”
Prandelli, the former Roma and Fiorentina coach, replaced Marcello Lippi as national team manager in the wake of the 2010 World Cup. He steered Italy to the final of Euro 2012 where he was widely praised for his coaching methods despite an eventual 4-0 final defeat to Spain.
Italy made a strong start with victory over England but were left with all to play for in their final group game after an unexpected loss to Costa Rica.
Despite a solid defensive performance Italy were put under increasingly pressure following the sending-off of Claudio Marchisio, and an 81st-minute goal from Diego Godin ensured Uruguay advanced at the Italians’ expense. The match erupted when Uruguay striker Luis Suarez appeared to bite Giorgio Chiellini shortly before the crucial goal.
Prandelli added: “A second European Championship, third at the Confederations [Cup] and the qualification obtained in advance should not be under-estimated. The match was well-balanced in equal numbers, but the sending-off changed it all.”
Prandelli was not the only man to fall on his sword with president Giancarlo Abete also stepping down. He said he would recommend that Prandelli changes his mind, but that he himself was going.
The first half of the match produced abysmal fare. Uruguays needed to win in order to progress along with Costa Rica, but despite the onus being on them to attack, Oscar Tabarez’s side mustered few chances.
It was Italy’s Mario Balotelli, whose challenge on Cristian Rodriguez earned a yellow card, posed the most persistent threat, though Ciro Immobile should have put Italy ahead in the 28th minute when he met Mattia De Sciglio’s low cross but fired over the bar from just inside the box.
The Italians were reduced to ten men after 59 minutes when Marchisio was sent off for a chopping foul on Egidio Rios.
Despite the extra man advantage, Uruguay continued to struggle until the 81st minute when Godin headed home.