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Italy could pull out of Euros

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AP

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

Italy would quit the European Championship if they were asked to do so for the good of the game, coach Cesare Prandelli said on Friday after match-fixing allegations again tarnished the Azzurri's image.

“If they would say to us that for the good of football the national team must not go to the Euros, it would not be a problem,” Prandelli told Rai television a week before the tournament starts in Ukraine and Poland.

Neither European governing body Uefa nor the Italian soccer federation have suggested Italy pull out of the tournament but Prandelli is preparing himself nevertheless.

“There are more important things,” he added.

Left back Domenico Criscito was left out of the Euro 2012 squad earlier this week after police formally warned him that he was under investigation over match-fixing.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and defender Leonardo Bonucci, both in the squad ahead of Italy opening their Group C campaign against holders Spain on June 10, have denied reports they have been involved in illegal betting.

“I want to talk only about football but what is happening requires us to discuss something different. We continue to say that those involved will not leave for the Euros,” Prandelli added before defending Juventus pair Buffon and Bonucci.

“Buffon is very strong, he has great personality,” he said.

“The Juventus players, until proven otherwise, have not been put under formal investigation.”

Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph followed another major match-fixing scandal and pundits said the bond within the squad created by the affair helped them in their success. – Reuters


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