Thursday May 29 2014
Lippi sees 2006 Italy similarities

Marcello Lippi says he sees similarities between the current Italy squad and that he won the 2006 World Cup with, as he wishes Cesare Prandelli good luck.

Lippi won the 2006 edition of the competition in Germany before enduring a miserable and brief defence of the title four years later in South Africa.

With the Azzurri currently into a second week of training ahead of the campaign in Brazil, the 66-year-old paid a visit today and spoke with his successor.

“I see many similarities in the psychological profile between this group and mine that won the World Cup,” Lippi has considered to reporters present at Coverciano.

“Of course, in these events you need to be very fortunate that your important players do not get injured, that you arrive in the best condition.

“If Buffon and Pirlo are injured as happened with me four years ago… If I had not lost Gigi and Andrea and if I had not found De Rossi at 30 per cent because of a calf injury…certain losses can create tension.

“Then, I hope there is luck in the knockout stages. It is one thing to face Australia and Ukraine between the Last 16 and quarter-finals and another to come up against Brazil and Argentina.

“You also need to be good, as we were against Germany, that semi-final was our masterpiece, that was our true final.

“Buffon says to aim for the quarter-finals? If Buffon says it…Brazil have won five World Cups, Italy four. If we had triumphed on penalties in ’94, those numbers would be different.

“This is to say that among those nations you must overcome in order to win the World Cup are Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina.”

The Azzurri open their campaign against England, in a game Lippi is confident about.

“We are stronger, we have the better weapons.

“Who will win the World Cup? I think of Brazil, but in my head is also saying Germany. The hope is that Italy triumph, of course.”

Giuseppe Rossi, if fit, is expected to lead Italy’s attack in Brazil, but four years ago he did not make Lippi’s squad for South Africa. Neither did Mario Balotelli or Antonio Cassano, also present at Coveriano today.

“I did not take Rossi to South Africa and that remains my greatest regret. For his talent, his class, his genius…

“I will be rooting for all the Azzurri but for him in particular. Not having called him up was the only time in my career when I have regretted something.

“And Cassano and Balotelli? These are things that I do not go into. I greeted all the players.”

Italy are using technology as part of their preparations to replicate the atmospheric conditions they anticipate to be playing in when out in South America.

“In Manaus it is going to be 31 degrees. In China we have it at 37-38 degrees with 90 per cent humidity.

“We train at 6pm every day and stop every 10 minutes to allow the guys to re-hydrate.”

Lippi was asked whether Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League win with Real Madrid is evidence of Italian Coaches once more asserting themselves on the game.

“It is the case, yes. I also think of Simeone, who is from Argentina, but as a Coach was trained by us. Simeone is amazing, for me the best of all.

“And Conte? I am rooting for him, I’d like him to be like Ferguson. He represents all of Juventus. Certainly, he needs to win something at international level.”

Pippo Inzaghi looks set to be named as Milan’s next Coach.

“If he manages to convey his attention to detail, such as in nutrition for example, then he will be successful.

“I have found more than 20 of my former players, 21 it seems to me, have become Coaches. I am happy for this.”

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