Friday, 4 June 2010

[WC2010] Lippi remaining calm

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has refused to press the panic button after seeing his side slip to defeat in Thursday's World Cup warm-up against Mexico.

The world champions suffered a 2-1 reverse at the hands of the central Americans in Brussels as Italy struggled to hit their stride against a side who have put great emphasis on matchday preparation.

The match marked Italy's first outing since March, with Lippi's coaching staff concentrating their efforts on altitude training ahead of South Africa, and the coach believes a touch of rustiness is only to be expected.

The Azzurri are back in action on Saturday with their final warm-up match against Switzerland in Geneva, and Lippi is confident Thursday's defeat will not linger long in the mind.

"We have been in the mountains training for 10 days and we have just come back to play against a team in much better condition than we are and who have played seven times already, and you have to take that into account," Lippi told Rai.

"I know my players, I have spoken to them and they told me they were tired before the game. What's important is to be in good condition in 10 days when we are in South Africa, not now.

"If we had played seven games like they did then we would have been in better condition."

He added: "Many times we have seen teams start well and then lose the World Cup.

"We are confident in the work we are doing."

Defender Leonardo Bonucci scored Italy's consolation goal on a bad night for the Azzurri, with Claudio Marchisio the only member of Lippi's side to emerge with much credit, and the coach is set to shuffle his pack against the Swiss.

"Against Switzerland on Saturday, we will play all those that have not featured here," he said.

The game against Switzerland is Italy's final act before flying to South Africa, where they will open their defence against Paraguay in Cape Town on June 14.

And Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro believes the real Azzurri will be on show once the tournament gets under way.

"We have to improve, and we will, so that we are ready for Paraguay," he said.

"As for the critics, they will always surround us at the World Cup, but they are a good thing for us. We will be okay this time too."

Source: Sporting Life

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