Donadoni rules out quitting
The world champions' rollercoaster tournament ended at the quarter-final stage but 44-year-old Donadoni has come under fire for the team's negative tactics and less than inspirational play.
They were thrashed 3-0 by the Netherlands in their opening game before being held to a 1-1 draw by Romania - although only a late penalty save by Gianluigi Buffon earned them that result. Italy qualified for the last eight by beating France 2-0 but their opponents had to play three-quarters of the game with 10 men after Eric Abidal's sending off.
Without playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who was suspended against Spain, and captain Fabio Cannavaro - the heart of the team - Italy were bereft of creativity and fight, surrendering meekly after a turgid 120 minutes of football and some poor penalties in the shoot-out. The press speculated on Monday morning that Donadoni will be shown the door but when asked if he will jump first, he was adamant.
"Resign? The thought would never even enter the antechamber of my brain," said Donadoni. "It's not because of a missed penalty that I'm going to change my opinion of our European Championships, that would be stupid."
Despite his conviction that he won't quit, Donadoni's time looks numbered with many newspapers speculating that FIFA World Cup™-winning boss Marcelo Lippi is set to make a comeback. And after the Spain defeat, Italian Federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete refused to publicly back his coach.
"It's positive in terms of the quality of the group of players and I'm pleased with the great bond created in the group but we are aware that our overall capacity and skills have certainly not reached the level that we expected," he said.
And when pressed on what Abete had told him personally, Donadoni was not particularly forthcoming with revealing information. "Just one hour ago at breakfast I spoke with president Abete. I simply told him I was happy to have experienced these two years," he said.
Donadoni took over the post after Lippi resigned following Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup victory in Germany. Donadoni was given only a two-year contract leading to much speculation even before this tournament began that unless the team went far he would not be offered a new deal.
He turned down a conditional offer, based on reaching at least the semi-finals, but eventually signed a new two-year deal just days before the tournament began.
However, a contract in Italy is no guarantee of remaining in employment and when asked if he thought he deserved to remain in the job, Donadoni preferred not to proffer a reply.
"With respect to those who should decide I'm not going to try to sway them. My record speaks for itself, I'm not going to try to talk it up."
Donadoni admitted that he could do nothing about the speculation or even the clamour for the return of the popular Lippi.
"Seriously you've been writing about his return for two weeks," he told journalists at a press conference in Italy's base near Vienna. "Hence since I arrived here I decided not to read the comments, neither the positive nor the negative ones."