Tuesday, 2 September 2008

[Azzurri] Lippi ready to relive past glory

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has urged his players to follow the example set by his World Cup-winning side as they embark on a new adventure.

Marcello LippiThe Azzurri take on Cyprus on Saturday in Larnaca before meeting Georgia in Udine four days later in their opening two World Cup qualifiers.

Lippi, who took over the national team for a second stint following the departure of Roberto Donadoni following a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign, wants to bring back the winning mentality that his team displayed in Berlin two years ago.

"The possibility to relive another Berlin night begins with these games," said Lippi, who guided the Azzurri to glory in Germany.

"I didn't return to win but to create the basis in order to be able to achieve that.

"The title of World champions that is inscribed on our shirts should remind us of that.

"The point of reference for us should be that national team, the world champions of 2006."

Saturday's game against Georgia will mark Lippi's first competitive game in charge after his return to guide the Azzurri.

"The more we consider the game against Cyprus easy the more difficult it will be," added Lippi, who is preparing the players in Coverciano.

"We have some players struggling with minor injuries but I believe all of them will be available on Wednesday."

Lippi has defended his decision to leave certain players out of his 22-man squad, with Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano excluded.

Cassano was a member of Italy's Euro 2008 squad.

"I have nothing against the players I excluded," Lippi said. "I have to point towards a group of players but that doesn't mean that I have something against someone.

"Many players would deserve to be in the national team, perhaps they will have a chance in the future."

Source: Sporting Life

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