Tuesday, 11 August 2009

[Azzurri] Lippi set to hand out first and record caps

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has denied dragging his heels over injecting fresh blood and will give debuts to Claudio Marchisio and Domenico Criscito in Wednesday's friendly against Switzerland.

Marcello LippiLippi has come under pressure to phase out members of the 2006 World Cup-winning team after the poor Confederations Cup showing in June when Italy were knocked out at the group stage after defeats by Egypt and Brazil.

The core of the 61-year-old's current team is still formed by World Cup winners, eight of whom are in the squad for the game in Basel.

Two others, Daniele De Rossi and Gennaro Gattuso, have been rested while striker Luca Toni is unfit. Lippi argues he is bringing in fresh faces as fast as possible but the transition must be gradual.

"They will both play from the first minute," Lippi told reporters at their Coverciano base when asked about Juventus midfielder Marchisio and Genoa defender Criscito, who have been promoted from the Italy Under-21 side.

"I see some people keep asking for revolution but we have already had too many revolutions. Here we have youngsters such as Criscito, Marchisio, (Salvatore) Bocchetti, (Davide) Santon.

"I've told them that we haven't got time for them to grow up. They are young players, but I need them to demonstrate that they are already 'old' players."

Criscito's uncapped Genoa team mate Bocchetti is also travelling to Switzerland as is Inter's highly rated 18-year-old full back Santon, who was part of the Confederations Cup squad.

Udinese playmaker Gaetano D'Agostino and Cagliari goalkeeper Federico Marchetti also feature in the 20-man squad after making their debuts in June's 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in a friendly.

Captain Fabio Cannavaro, who rejoined Juventus in the summer after three years with Real Madrid, will break Paolo Maldini's Italy record of 126 appearances if he plays on Wednesday night.

Italy will be back in competitive action next month, when they take on Georgia in Tbilisi on September 5 and host Bulgaria in Turin four days later.

Lippi's men lead World Cup qualifying Group 8 with 14 points from six matches, one point more than the Republic of Ireland with a game in hand.

Source: Various

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