Italian Coach Faces Music After Faltering Campaign

APDonadoni
ROME -- Roberto Donadoni's stint as Italy coach should end with Sunday's quarterfinal defeat to Spain, with World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi set for a recall, according to Italian media.

"Italy, Lippi is Returning," read the front page of Corriere dello Sport on Monday. "Spain plays better and wins. Donadoni's out. Lo and behold the World Cup-winning coach."

Donadoni, who took over from Lippi after the 2006 triumph, signed a two-year contract extension just before Euro '08, but with an escape clause.

"The Azzurri reign of Roberto Donadoni should have ended yesterday with Cesc Fabregas's penalty," wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was the end of the line for a national team that resembles its coach very much; on the whole dignified, honest but too modest in its ambitions and qualities."

Commentators said the loss of defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Barzagli to injury and midfielders Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo through suspension is no excuse.

"We justly go out, Spain has something more than us, and Italy is not itself any more," wrote Corriere della Sera, which also blasted Italy's lack of bite in attack, with none of the side's strikers finding the net during the tournament.

"Italy played a match of demoralizing scarcity, resurrecting elements ... that we thought had definitively disappeared from our repertoire," it wrote.

"Luca Toni showed he is in terrible physical shape. Stubborn Donadoni sank with him, and he will soon pay the consequences."