Saturday, 20 June 2009

[Azzurri] Aiming for victory against Brazil

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has urged the critics to ease up on the Azzurri as they bid to turn their dismal FIFA Confederations Cup campaign around against Brazil on Sunday night.

Gianluigi BuffonA hard-fought victory against the USA and a surprise defeat against Egypt has seen Italy severely criticised back home, with the World champions on the verge of an early exit from the tournament.

The Azzurri are second in Group B, three points behind Brazil, and need victory by two clear goals in Pretoria to be assured of a place in the semi-finals regardless of what happens in Egypt's match against the United States.

However, Buffon insists it would not be a disaster should Italy crash out at the group stage.

"We knew that this Confederations Cup is a test to prepare for the World Cup and that there would be experiments," said the Juventus goalkeeper. "It's useless now to massacre the coach and the team.

"If things don't work, Lippi will have the lucidity to change it: we are always able to turn back.

"The coach has the mental lucidity to understand what on the pitch didn't work as planned.

"Lippi told us off after the Egypt game because it also happened against the USA; in the first half of both those games we didn't manage to do what we tried.

"His rebukes were justified."

Sunday's mouthwatering clash pits two of the best sides in the world, with nine World Cup trophies between them, against each other.

It is a game which sees the current, four-time world champions take to the pitch against five-time world champions Brazil, the most successful international side ever.

And Buffon admits that victory against the South American giants would mean more than qualifying for the semi-finals.

"The Confederations Cup is not over yet. We can still remain in it," he added. "We hope to show that we are not worth less than them.

"I want to win this tournament. But if we win (against Brazil) and we go out, I'll still be happy: to beat strong teams such as Brazil would be the most important thing."

The Brazilians also faltered against Egypt, but managed to snatch a controversial 4-3 victory in their opening game.

A comfortable victory over the USA last time out has left the Selecao with a 100 per cent record in the group, but they could nevertheless be knocked out of the competition if Egypt triumph by three goals and they lose by two.

And Real Madrid's new signing Ricardo Kaka, who made his name in Italy with AC Milan, has warned his team-mates they should be wary of an Azzurri backlash.

"They lost the last game and they won't want to lose another one," he said. "For me in particular it will be a special game, because of everything that Italy represented for my career."

Both Lippi and Brazil coach Dunga are likely to make several changes to their team.

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro should nevertheless win his 126th cap and equal Paolo Maldini's record.

[FIFA Confederations Cup 2009]

Source: Associated Press

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