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Donadoni loses Italy job after Euro 2008 exit

ROME, June 26 (Reuters) - Italy head coach Roberto Donadoni lost his job on Thursday following the world champions' Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat by Spain, the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) said.

'The Federation considers the contractual relationship with Roberto Donadoni to have run out at its natural expiry date,' the FIGC said in a statement on its website.

The FIGC did not have to formally dismiss the 44-year-old as the two-year contract extension he signed just before the tournament was conditional on Italy reaching the semi-finals. They exited after a penalty shootout on Sunday.

According to media reports, the FIGC is expected to announce the return of Donadoni's predecessor, 2006 World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi, early next week.

'Today president (Giancarlo) Abete received national team coach Roberto Donadoni at the FIGC's offices to assess the work done over the last two years and the performance at the European championship,' the statement continued.

'In confirming his appreciation for the seriousness and skilled professionalism that distinguished his work at the helm of the national team, president Abete president also informed the coach of the decision.'

Donadoni, who took charge in July 2006 after the World Cup triumph in Germany, paid the price for the Azzurri's tired and uninspiring showing at Euro 2008, where they won just one game from four.

'I'm sorry that a penalty has determined this situation,' the former Italy and AC Milan midfielder was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport's website after being informed of the decision.

'In these two years my Italy team have done something positive. One match cannot wipe that out.'


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