Marcello Lippi does not believe Spain and Croatia are beyond stitching up Italy. “They do this sort of thing too. Just ask Villarreal...”
The Azzurri will go out regardless of their result on Monday night if Spain-Croatia ends 2-2, but both nations have expressed their offence at the suggestion they’d play for a draw.
“I know that in the final round of La Liga this season Villarreal went down because two teams reached a result that suited both of them. The Spanish do this sort of thing too,” said the 2006 World Cup winner.
Lippi was referring to the Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Granada match that sealed Villarreal’s surprise relegation deep into stoppages.
Italy are in the exact same situation that saw them eliminated in the Euro 2004 group phase by a 2-2 draw between Denmark and Sweden.
“Teams always start off by saying ‘How dare you put our tradition in doubt? We play to win, always,’ and then they end up doing whatever suits their interests.
“Every time, funnily enough, the result they wanted seems to occur...”
Lippi is now the Coach of Chinese club side Guangzhou Evergrande.