Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Lippi aiming for all three points

Italy coach Marcello Lippi insists he will not be playing for a draw against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday evening.

Marcello LippiThe Azzurri lead Group 8 by four points ahead of second-placed Ireland with two games remaining, and just one point in Dublin would secure qualification for next year's FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.

But Lippi insists that the world champions, who take on Cyprus in Parma in their final group game next Wednesday, will not go into the game against Giovanni Trapattoni's side with a negative mindset and play for the draw.

"It's very important for us to qualify on Saturday," he said. "Not only from my point of view but for everyone involved.

"This is the most important week for us in the last two years. There are two results out of a possible three that will benefit us in Dublin.

"We need a point but it will be a mistake to play for the draw, we have to play our game.

"If we don't get the result in Dublin then we will go out on Wednesday to claim three points."

The World Cup-winning coach is well known for maintaining an even keel but during today's press conference at the Coverciano training headquarters he lost his cool when asked about Antonio Cassano's continued absence from the squad.

Sports pundits and Azzurri fans have called for Lippi to get the Sampdoria star back in the national side.

"I'm fed up with this question," said Lippi, who offered no further comment on the subject.

Cassano was in Roberto Donadoni's UEFA Euro 2008 squad but ever since Lippi returned to guide the national team, the forward has not featured.

The striker does divide opinion but his supporters say that he has matured in his two seasons at Samp.

The Azzurri will be without captain Fabio Cannavaro for this weekend's showdown with the Juventus defender serving a one-match ban.

His club team-mate Claudio Marchisio is doubtful for the encounter as he is struggling with a minor knee injury.

Meanwhile, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed that a minute's silence will be observed prior to both of Italy's matches for the victims of the Messina disaster.

Mudslides on October 1 near the Sicilian city have left 24 dead and 705 people homeless.

Italy's players will also wear black armbands.

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