Baden, June 23:

Italy coach Roberto Donadoni was barely holding onto his job on Monday after the World Cup champions were eliminated from the Euro 2008 quarter-finals.

Spain beat Italy 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw on Sunday, and the consensus in the Italian media the following day was that Donadoni had reached “the end of the line.” But Donadoni is refusing to bow out until he is ordered to do so.

“If you guys have fresher news than me, I don’t know, but I’m calm, and I’m not very worried about it,” Donadoni told a press conference, adding that he never considered resigning. “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I don’t see why decisions like this should be made if a game is won or lost on penalties, with everything decided by one metre more or one metre less. It seems like stupid reasoning. I don’t see why I should resign. That would seem excessive.”

Donadoni was given a two-year contract extension before the tournament, but the deal includes an escape clause. “Over the next few days we will reflect and make a decision,” Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete said immediately after the game. “It doesn’t make any sense to make a decision in the heat of the moment.”

Donadoni said that too much should not be read into Abete’s words. “I think the fact that he doesn’t say much might be part of his character, which is similar to my own,” Donadoni said. “I don’t want to force anyone’s hand. That’s not the way I think. I’m moving forward serenely. We’ll see over the next 10 days. It’s useless to make calculations.”

Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title, is reportedly set to return in charge if Donadoni is fired. “Everything that I did, I did very seriously and with hard work,” Donadoni said. “Everyone can judge for themselves.”