World Cup 2014

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



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:


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.”


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.


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.


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)


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.

      • Ian

        Dave, the proper response is, “These aren’t the bite marks we’re looking for.”


    • Darth Suarez

      These are not the bite marks we are looking for….you can go about your business…move along Suarez move along…


  • Paul Terry

    I’d like to get Lugano one on one without the protection of the rules and his team mates to see how brave he is.


      • Kris

        I thought it was pretty clear Annelid was being sarcastic too. There really needs to be a sarcasm font.


  • Tru Dat

    “That scar isn’t from today’s game.”
    “There was no bite and there was no scar.”

    So his combined statement is, “That scar, which was not there, isn’t from today’s game”?

    Maybe someting was lost in translation. Or maybe it is a completely rediculous statement in defense of a completely guilty person.

    Or I guess Ivanovic pushed his forearm INTO LS’s mouth.


    • Jim

      He’s also implying that the scar (which both doesn’t exist and is old) just coincidentally happens to be in the exact same place where Suarez stuck his face.

      Logic is not his strong suit.


  • Scruff

    The bite came from a different set of teeth that popped out of the grassy knoll


    • TomM

      Tim: There he is!
      King Arthur: Where?
      Tim: There!
      King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
      Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
      King Arthur: You silly sod!
      Tim: What?
      King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
      Tim: Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit.
      King Arthur: Ohh.
      Tim: That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
      Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
      Tim: Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!


  • Dave

    I am more than somewhat surprised that I have not heard more from Italy. If Suarez was red carded, the whole tempo of that games changes. The worst I heard was “it takes courage to act on that” or words to that effect.


    • wfrw07

      To be fair, if the ref saw the whole incident, then Chiellini probably would have been sent off for elbowing Suarez in the face. Granted he had every reason to do it, but by the letter of the law he would have been guilty of violent conduct himself. Game still would have finished with Uruguay up a man.


  • x

    Lugano: ““Are you sure you saw a bite? 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, 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.”

    That is a great allegation. However, at the time of the bite, Italy was not defeated, but level and they would have advanced if the score had remained the same. So, the complaint (and the bite) did not come while they were defeated, but while they were in a situation to advance.

    I can’t tell if Lugano is deluded or deliberately lying to try to protect his teammate.


    • Paul Lorinczi

      Uruguay immediately hired Karl Rove to help with PR and go after the guy who got bit to discredit the accuser. Or, they are using a Jedi mind trick. “You did not see him bite Chiellini, you saw nothing.”


    • user222

      Lugano is another son of a bitch filthy player… it’s like asking OJ Simpson for a witness account….


  • The Imperative Voice

    Re Prandelli, the mistake appeared to be not so much tactics as personnel. If you go with Balotelli you have to commit, and he blinked. And then they just seem to have lost some of their bite.


  • Matt C

    Think before you speak. Is there no one of remote intelligence who spoke to these guys before letting them talk to the press?

    “I did not see a bite, and I saw the replay, just looked like they bumped into each other. He must have gotten them mark when he fell on a sprinkler head one of the 3 times he took a dive in the first half”.

    No, not accurate, but not nearly as brazen.


    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache

      That’s weird. It’s hard to imagine Americans behaving the same way. However, it’s also not that likely that US Soccer pockets agreed upon player payments…which may be fairly common in Africa seeing how tense the players are to be paid.


  • Pablo

    I’m sick of Chicken Little Chiellini and very happy to see him go. It’s his own fault that the referee didn’t listen to him. If the guy has someone brush up against his arm, he collapses on the ground and rolls around holding his face. He is always rolling around holding his face – he’s one of the biggest fakers in the game today. He should have gotten several yellow cards during the course of the game for simulation. If I was a referee and saw him rolling around again I would ignore him too. If they are going to go back and review the Suarez incident, which is fine with me, I would also like to see them retroactively punish people like Chiellini for wasting time trying to deceive the referee. He ruins any game that Italy plays.


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