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June 27, 2017

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Italy in turmoil as Prandelli, federation head resign

NATAL, Brazil -- Italy coach Cesare Prandelli and federation president Giancarlo Abete left Italian soccer rudderless on Tuesday as both announced their resignations after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup.

Despite Abete claiming he would try to convince Prandelli not to quit his post, the Italy handler was unequivocal.

"I will not go back on my decision," said Prandelli after seeing his side crash out of the competition following a 1-0 defeat to Group D rivals Uruguay.

Prandelli had taken over Italy following their first round exit from the World Cup in South Africa, steering them to a runner-up place at Euro 2012 and third place in last year's Confederations Cup.

But after failing to claim the draw that would have secured their ticket to the last 16, 10-man Italy had to settle for their second successive group phase humiliation.

Prandelli had extended his contract recently to take him up to the 2016 European Championships.

But the 56-year-old, who hit out at a lack of support from the country's own supporters, said: "Something has changed since I signed my contract."

He added: "We're the only national team that leaves (for the World Cup) without the support of its own people, who then rely on us to carry the hopes of a nation.

"When we left (for Brazil), we were jeered, whistled at and insulted. We were almost embarrassed to come here."

Abete said his decision had been made prior to the tournament, which saw Italy fail to reach the second round for the second successive edition.

"I'd already taken this decision prior to the World Cup," said Abete. "It's time for me to step aside. I think we need time to reflect."

Prandelli said he would accept all the "responsibility" for Italy's failure.

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