Saturday, 16 August 2008

[Olympics] No excuses for failure

Italy coach Pierluigi Casiraghi admits there are no excuses for their failure to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic football tournament.

Pierluigi CasiraghiThe Azzurri were among the favourites for a medal in Beijing, but fell 3-2 to a Belgium side that played with 10 men for 75 minutes.

"We were lacking sharpness, both in attack and defence," said Casiraghi following this humiliating exit.

"I don’t know why that was the case and I am not looking for any excuses. If we lost today, then clearly we made mistakes."

The players were furious with the referee for not awarding two clear penalties, while Belgium's first goal did not appear to cross the line.

"The referee only influences the game to a certain degree and besides the decision on that goal was made by the linesman," sighed Casiraghi.

His position in charge of the Italy Under-21 side is now under pressure after disappointing results in both the European Championships last summer and the Olympics.

"The project continues in my view, even if that is the last thing on my mind right now," he continued.

"Overall, I consider our work here positive, but when you find yourself in these in-or-out crunch matches and can see qualification so close, it is a cruel feeling."

Despite the failure, FIGC President Giancarlo Abete stands by Casiraghi and assistant Gianfranco Zola.

"It was not a great performance, but we must also compliment Belgium," Abete said.

"Casiraghi and Zola will remain in their places, as there is an Under-21 project that we want to continue.

"There were some circumstances, between penalties not given and a ball judged across the line, that influenced the result.

"We should have had another spot-kick for the goalkeeper's foul on Giuseppe Rossi and perhaps the initial equaliser from Belgium did not really go in, but that was the fault of the linesman."


Source: C4 Football Italia

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