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FUTURE IS NOW FOR MALDINI

Cesare Maldini knows the gig: If you coach Italy in a World Cup and don’t bring home the trophy, start job-hunting today.

Meeting with reporters Saturday, Maldini dodged the issue best he could, saying “Today I only want to discuss this World Cup, not the future. I have a contract with the Italian Football Federation until Dec. 31.”

Not that it matters much to federation President Luciano Nizzola.

“It’s premature to be talked about now,” Nizzola said Saturday. “I’ve nothing to reproach the team for, but clearly I am bitterly disappointed about the way things have worked out.

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“This group of players has been crying about this defeat. But I have to say that I think that’s excessive--because I don’t think they have anything to feel guilty about.”

If that sounds like arrividerci for Maldini, the coach simply philosophizes, “Football is suffering. Football is suffering and joy--but lots of suffering.”


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