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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Lippi resigns as Italy head coach
Marcello Lippi
Italy lost just two matches in two years under Lippi
Marcello Lippi has resigned as coach of Italy after leading his country to a fourth World Cup title.

Despite widespread calls for him to stay at the helm after Italy's win over France he says the time is right to go.

"I believe that I have achieved what I set out to achieve as coach of the Italian team," Lippi declared.

The 58-year-old feels he and his son, Davide, were attacked personally in the match-fixing and corruption scandal tainting Italy's domestic game.

After two years and 17 days in charge, Lippi said his decision came at the end of "an extraordinary professional and personal experience", but he did not reveal his future plans.

"I want to thank the federation for the confidence it had in me during the last two years of work crowned by a result that will rest in the annals of Italian football and live on in the memory of our fans," he added.

Italian Federation vice president Giancarlo Abete said Lippi had told him during the second round of the World Cup that he intended to quit regardless of his team's performance.

In a statement, Abete praised Lippi for his "extraordinary professionalism and his ability leading the team."

Lippi turned down a new contract before the World Cup began and failed to attend a meeting with the Italian Federation on Tuesday.

He was said to be tired of hearing his name mentioned in connection with the match-fixing scandal involving four top Serie A clubs, including champions Juventus, with whom he won five Serie A titles and the 1996 Champions League in two stints as coach between 1994 and 2004.

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While he is not under investigation, Lippi was questioned by prosecutors before the World Cup about alleged pressure he received to select certain players for Italy's national team.

Davide Lippi works at a player agency linked to the scandal and is under investigation for "illegal competition with threats and violence".

Lippi took over from Giovanni Trapattoni after Italy's poor performance at Euro 2004.

In two years in charge Lippi lost just two matches - a 2-0 defeat on his debut against Iceland and a 1-0 loss in World Cup qualifying against Slovenia.

But following that reverse Italy went 25 games unbeaten, a run, their longest since 1939, that culminated in a first world title since 1982 and a leap up the world rankings to second behind Brazil.

The World Cup final finished 1-1 before Italy won the shoot-out 5-3 and Lippi described the victory as "the most satisfying moment of my life".

He was recently linked with a move to Manchester United as a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.

But the Italian was quick to reject the speculation - citing his lack of English as his reason for not moving to the Premiership - and United also denied the rumours.

Italy's next fixture is a friendly against Croatia on 16 August before the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign starts at home to Lithuania on 2 September.

Four days later Italy face a re-match against France in Paris.

They are in Group B which also includes Ukraine, Scotland, Georgia and Faroe Islands.

Claudio Gentile, Alberto Zaccheroni and Roberto Donadoni are the early front-runners to replace Lippi.



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