February 5, 2018 / 1:11 PM / 14 days ago

Soccer: Di Biagio to coach Italy in March friendlies

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio will coach the senior side on a caretaker basis for the friendlies against Argentina and England in March, the Italian federation (FIGC) said on Monday.

Italy have been without a coach since Gian Piero Ventura resigned in November after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Di Biagio, 46, is a former midfielder who won 31 caps for Italy and played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and Euro 2000. His club career included spells at Inter Milan and AS Roma as well as Monza, Foggia, Brescia and Ascoli.

He coached Italy’s Under-20 team between 2011 and 2013 and has led the Under-21 side from 2013 onwards.

Italy play Argentina in Manchester on March 23 and England at Wembley four days later.

The FIGC is itself without a president after Carlo Tavecchio resigned in November and the election for his replacement last week failed to find a winnner.

Roberto Fabbricini, general secretary of the Italian Olympic Committee, was appointed FIGC commissioner on an emergency basis.

Earlier on Monday, Fabbricini told state broadcaster RAI the search for a long-term coach was complicated because many candidates had contracts with clubs abroad.

“If these people do not make themselves free, it becomes diplomatically difficult to go and ask them to consider the possibility of leading the national team,” he said.

“Even in Serie A, there are coaches worthy of consideration but to ask for their availability without following the rules would be an own goal.”

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond

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