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FIFA's Infantino says Italy's World Cup failure is a wake-up call

AFP  |  Milan 

revealed today his despair at Italy's failure to reach finals where he had hoped to hand the trophy to

"Im sad, yes Im sad for I almost cried," Infantino, who holds both Swiss and Italian nationality, said in an interview with Italys Gazzetta Dello Sport five months ahead of final match in

"I think its a collective sadness. Were talking about a team with a great tradition who give their best in events like this.

"But those who are in deserved to qualify and in any case stayed out with an Italian President: do we need anything else to say were honest and clean?"

Infantino, the Swiss-born son of Italian immigrant parents, took over the scandal-battered world body from disgraced in February 2016.

"I would have liked to have given the cup to Buffon though," admitted the 47-year-old.

said that there had been signs of trouble within the four-time world champions long before their dramatic failure in last Novembers play-offs.

"There have been signals to this effect for a long time, and (Matteo) Darmians shot against could have gone in instead of hitting the post, but he would have only concealed the problems.

"were the first in the world for organisation, clubs, training, structures, food, tactics. We forgot that, without work, talent is not enough.

"How many young people advance to the first team?".

are without a and a federation with the FIGC currently under the guardianship of the national Olympic committee CONI.

said he hoped this would be "as short as possible".

"One or two men cannot change a situation that needs a strong president, backed by all parties, and with a long-term strategy: clubs, leagues, players, everyone has to go in the same direction, as in in the 90s, after the crisis of results, as in England after the Heysel (Stadium disaster), everyone at the table thinking about the common good, today wins the World Cup and Confederations with young players, and England are world champions in Under 17 and Under 20."

Infantino added that he hoped to encourage 40-year-old Juventus and Italy goalkeeping legend Buffon to take a role in footballs governing body when he retires.

"Could he take a role in Im going to go in person and get him.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 19:00 IST