Wednesday Kickoff: Prandelli steps down; Lugano calls Chiellini a 'coward'; and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Prandelli steps down; Lugano calls Chiellini a 'coward'; and more

World Cup 2014

Wednesday Kickoff: Prandelli steps down; Lugano calls Chiellini a 'coward'; and more

Prandelli-ItalyUruguay-WorldCup2014Zimbio

By RYAN TOLMICH

For Cesare Prandelli, a World Cup group stage exit proved to be enough to undo four years of Italian success.

Prandelli announced his resignation as Italy manager Tuesday following the Azzurri’s 1-0 loss to Group D runner ups Uruguay. The loss saw eliminated Italy from the World Cup group stage in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1966.

“I talked to the president of the federation.. and gave my resignation,” said Prandelli in his postgame press conference. “The technical set-up didn’t work, and I take all responsibility for that. Something has changed since my contract was renewed. I don’t know why. I chose a certain technical plan and that’s why I’m resigning – because it did not work.”

Prior to this summer’s tournament, the 56-year-old manager, who took charge of Italy in 2010, led Italy to the final of the 2012 European Championships and the semifinals of last summer’s Confederations Cup, where the Azzurri were eliminated both times at the hands of Spain.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning:

URUGUAY CAPTAIN LUGANO CALLS CHIELLINI A ‘COWARD’ IN WAKE OF SUAREZ INCIDENT

Despite being seen as guilty in the court of public opinion, Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has come to the defense of teammate Luis Suarez.

Suarez was the center of controversy yet again Tuesday, as the Uruguay star is caught up in his third biting scandal since the last World Cup. Despite mounting evidence, Lugano stood up for his teammate, labeling Suarez’s prey, Giorgio Chiellini as a “coward.”

“Are you sure you saw a bite,” asked Lugano after Tuesday’s victory, “because I’ve watched the incident again and I saw nothing… I’ve seen the picture of Chiellini. That scar isn’t from today’s game. You have to be very stupid to believe that scar is from now.
Italy had been wasting time the entire match, provoking us on the pitch like they always do.

“I never believed an Italian player could be such a coward off the pitch,” Lugano said. “During the game, yes, it is all part of football, but I think the manly thing to do would be to just accept defeat. To denounce your opponents just out of bitterness is bad.
There was no bite and there was no scar.”

ARSENAL LINKED WITH SANCHEZ

Arsene Wenger is looking into the possibility of bringing one of the world’s brightest talents to the Emirates Stadium next season.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the Arsenal manager has made an official enquiry to Barcelona over the transfer of Alexis Sanchez, who has starred for Chile at the 2014 World Cup. After being promised extra transfer funds this summer, Wenger is looking to add another big-name striker to partner with Olivier Giroud in the Arsenal squad, and has identified Sanchez and Italy forward Mario Balotelli as his top two targets.

The report states that Barcelona would be reluctant to sell Sanchez but could do so if they sign another big-name forward this summer.

MONDRAGON BECOMES WORLD CUP’S OLDEST PLAYER

When Faryd Mondragon took the field on Tuesday evening, he broke a record that might never be touched again.

The 43-year-old Colombian goalkeeper became the oldest player to play in a World Cup when he was substituted on for David Ospina in Colombia’s 4-1 drubbing of Japan on Tuesday, breaking Cameroon forward Roger Milla’s record set in 1994.

“It’s a great moment, at the end of a long journey, to play at the age of 43 at the World Cup,” Mondragon told reporters after the match. “Thanks to all my teammates.”

Mondragon, who began his career with Deportivo Cali in 1990, just finished a second season back with his boyhood club. During his career, he’s played with Independiente in Argentina, Metz in France, FC Köln in Germany, Galatasaray in Turkey, and the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.

QUICK KICKS

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella has admitted that his squad relies too heavily on Lionel Messi to score goals and win games. (REPORT)

Ivory Coast head coach Sabri Lamouchi has announced his resignation after failing to guide the Elephants into the knockout rounds. (REPORT)

Real Madrid legend Zenedine Zidane has been appointed head coach of Real Madrid Castilla, the club’s reserve team, after spending a year as Carlo Ancelotti’s top assistant. (REPORT)

Barcelona have acquired Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo from Real Sociedad on a four-year contract. (REPORT)

Paris Saint-Germain have turned their attention away from right back Dani Alves due to his high wage demands, and the French club are now interested in signing AC Milan full back Ignacio Abate. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Surprised to see Prandelli resign? Can you understand Lugano’s comments at all? Do you believe that Arsenal could sign Alexis Sanchez this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

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