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Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni has been given a vote of confidence by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

Trapattoni met with FIGC president Franco Carraro and vice-president Giancarlo Abete earier today and it was reported in advance that the veteran coach would be relieved of his duties. However, Italian club football’s most successful-ever coach, has earned a reprieve and been told to concentrate on ensuring Italy qualify for the EURO 2004 finals.

“This is not a temporary decision – we have complete trust in Trapattoni,” said Abete today.

Pressure on Trapattoni has been growing since their shock World Cup exit to South Korea in last summer’s World Cup finals. A poor start to their EURO 2004 qualifying campaign has seen the critics sharpening their knives, but the latest vote of confidence appears to consolidatte the beleaguered coach’s position for the time being.

Abete was adamant that the 63-year-old would “stay on as coach at least until the end of the qualifying campaign”.

“We are sure we can close the gap on the other teams in the section,” he said. Italy currently lie third in Group 9 behind Wales and Yugoslavia.

Trapatonni confirmed that he would have resigned if asked to do so.

“I would have accepted the federation’s decision whatever it was – I have always been responsible for my actions,” said ‘Trap’.

“Carraro asked me to make a real go of it during the rest of the EURO 2004 qualifiers,’ he added. ‘It won’t be easy but I’m sure we can manage to get through.”

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