BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) – Nigel Worthington will leave as Northern Ireland's soccer coach after Tuesday's European Championship qualifier against Italy.
Worthington became the national coach in 2007, but Northern Ireland failed to qualify for a major tournament since. Northern Ireland lost 2-1 at home to Estonia on Friday, ending its slim hopes of reaching Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland.
Worthington said Monday he wanted to give the country's soccer leaders and players the ''opportunity and time to move forward.''
Worthington's contract was to expire at the end of the year. After the Italy match, Northern Ireland's next game isn't until February.