Donadoni not worried about slipping to third

September 9, 2007

MILAN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Italy coach Roberto Donadoni was unperturbed after Saturday's 0-0 draw with France knocked the world champions down to third place in their Euro 2008 qualifying section.

A 3-1 win over Lithuania vaulted Scotland into second spot in Group B with 18 points from eight matches. France are top on 19 while Italy have 17.

The fiery atmosphere of a packed San Siro matched the furious pace and aggression on the pitch, and Donadoni was pleased with the way his troops competed in their World Cup final rematch.

'We could not have given more. I don't see it as a chance lost,' Donadoni told reporters.

'We kept our heads well. We had our chances, it is a shame we were a bit cagey in the first 25 minutes and then at the end we were too tired.'

A tricky trip to fourth-placed Ukraine on Wednesday awaits but Donadoni is not ready to panic, with striker Luca Toni set to return from injury and add the firepower the Azzurri lacked on Saturday.

The San Siro crowd, an 80,000 sell-out, booed so loudly before the start that the French national anthem was inaudible.

Donadoni and his players were quick to condemn the booing.

'I am sorry. To whistle at the French anthem was not right,' the coach said.

Right back Massimo Oddo was even more critical.

'I was really ashamed. I have played lots of matches abroad and I have never heard the Italian anthem booed,' the AC Milan defender said.

The rivalry between the teams, intensified by Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi in the Berlin final last year, hotted up when France avenged their World Cup defeat by beating the Azzurri 3-1 in Paris in September.

France coach Raymond Domenech reignited the animosity by accusing Italy of bribing a referee at an under-21 qualifier for the 2000 Olympics. UEFA banned him from the touchline for the San Siro match.

Inter Milan midfielder and France captain Patrick Vieira was stunned by the booing at his home ground.

'I was surprised and shocked. We did not expect that,' he said.

French federation president Jean Pierre Escalettes also criticised the booing.

'It was a very ugly moment,' he said.