Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lippi promises fresh faces

Italy coach Marcello Lippi is set to name his squad for the friendly match against Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Marcello LippiThe World champions will host the Northern Irish in Pisa on June 6 in preparation for the FIFA Confederations Cup that begins in South Africa next month.

Lippi, who pledged there will be "a few miracles" in the squad list, will have one final friendly against New Zealand on June 10 before the intercontinental tournament kicks off on June 14.

"There will be no seminarians, but I think you'll find a few miracles," Lippi said. "I mean that in the sense that you have to follow the career of a young of old player who is perhaps part of a relegated team or one that didn't go so well this season.

"Some of them will be called. The message I want to send out is this: There is hope for everybody."

While the media and fans clamour for Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano to receive his first call-up under Lippi, the coach's comments suggest other names.

The latest speculation say the most likely is Bologna striker Marco Di Vaio, who is the leading Capocannoniere alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 23 goals.

Other potential players Lippi could include in the squad are Inter teenage pair Davide Santon and Mario Balotelli, Chievo veteran Sergio Pellissier and Catania forward Giuseppe Mascara.

After the encounter against Northern Ireland, a final squad list is expected to be confirmed to FIFA that will travel to South Africa. Italy will play a final friendly against fellow Confederations Cup participants New Zealand in Pretoria on June 10.

The eight-team "champions" tournament will take place in the Southern African nation from June 14 to 28 and will serve as a on and off-field dress rehearsal for the country that is preparing to host the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time 12 months later.

The Azzurri are in Group B, where they will face the United States of America in Pretoria on June 15, Egypt in Johannesburg on June 18 and Brazil back in Pretoria on June 21.

[Italy 2009 Calendar] - [FIFA Confederations Cup 2009]

Source: C4 Football Italia

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