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Former Italy coach Cesare Maldini has become the lates victim of the World Cup, having been yesterday dismissed by the Italian calcio federation. This comes after a decent performance in the World Cup, which ended sadly for the Italians in a penalty shoot-out against the home team- France. The penalty shoot-out has been especially painful for Italy- after fine  performances they have been eliminated from the past 3 World Cups by way of penalty, even more painfully in the Italia 90 semifinal. The fate of the Azzuri unfortunately repeated itself, despite maintaining a record of not losing a regulation-time game since Mexico 86. Ironically, that loss was a 2-0 to France, a goal in the game was scored by the geat Platini, an ever-present figure of France 98. When in this year's shoot-out Di Biagio's shot hit the crossbar, inevitable memories of his compatriot Baggio fluttered in our minds, and with the loss of that penalty came the eventual downfall of Cesare Maldini, whose conrtact ran until December 31 of this year.

Son Paolo Maldini

Albertini reacts to the latest penalty defeat


So it happened, then that FederCalcio president  Luciano Nizzola gave Cesare a final phone call, telling him the decision of the federation. The new man is Dino Zoff, the great world champion ex-keeper for the Azzuri, and current president of Seria A club S.S. Lazio. And Futbol World has the details: At Lazio, his contract is until the year 2001. The salary is for 800 million lira. That translates to roughly $470.000 American cash. Maldini made 650 million lira as national team coach. What Zoff is looking right now though is a 2-year deal with an option to renew for another 2 additional years. Right now Zoff's first game is in sight- a Euro 2000 qualifier against Wales that will be played in Liverpool on September 5. In the works, according to inside sources, is a friendly game with Spain for later this year. A game like that would surely test the squad and reveal weaknesses and strenghts.




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