Friday, 4 September 2009

[Azzurri] Crucial week for World champions

Giuseppe Rossi is confident Italy will rediscover their goalscoring touch in Saturday's FIFA World Cup qualifier in Georgia.

Giuseppe RossiMarcello Lippi's men travel to Tbilisi having failed to hit the back of the opposing net since Rossi struck twice in their 3-1 win over the United States on June 15.

Since then, the world champions have struggled to find ways of breaking down defences. A 1-0 loss to Egypt, a 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup and a goalless result in last month's friendly against Switzerland have followed.

But Villarreal striker Rossi, who is set to lead the Azzurri's attack alongside Vincenzo Iaquinta on Saturday, is confident his team will end the drought tomorrow.

"We don't have a goalscoring problem," he said. "It's true that we have not scored in three games but these are things that happen in football.

"We are not worried about it. We have so much forward talent that we can score at any time.

"Everyone will see that this will be the case in our next two games."

Italy currently lie in top spot in their World Cup qualifying Group Eight with 14 points from six games. The Azzurri are one point clear of the Republic of Ireland and have a game in hand.

Lippi's men want no upsets and expect to take full points in Georgia and against Bulgaria on Wednesday in Turin.

"We have two important games coming up," said Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro. "We have the chance to increase our one-point advantage over Ireland.

"Georgia are not going through a positive time but we must go into the game with the right motivation because our qualification to the World Cup is also determined by our result in Georgia."

Winless Georgia go into the game at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium last in the standings having claimed just three points in seven games.

Georgia coach Hector Cuper will be under pressure to take a positive result with his side having failed to come out triumphant in the last 11 matches.

AC Milan midfielder and Georgia captain Kakha Kaladze knows the challenge his team face against the Azzurri.

"We hope to do well," he said. "But we know that it will be a very hard game.

"Italy cannot lose focus for the World Cup but we want to give a good display in front of our home fans."

Kaladze admits it is always special to play against Italy.

"It's not the first time that I have faced them," he said. "But these type of games give you an added motivation and you feel like you give more than everything you have."

The Azzurri will be without injured duo Claudio Marchisio and Gennaro Gattuso. Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who struck a brace to hand Italy a 2-0 triumph over Georgia last year, serves a one-match ban on Saturday.

The hosts will be without injured duo Jaba Kankava and Beka Gotsiridze.

Italy will qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa if they pick up maximum points in this week's double-header and Ireland are defeated in Cyprus on Saturday.

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