Friday June 13 2014
Lippi sees 2006 Italy similarities

Marcello Lippi says he sees a ‘psychological similarity’ between Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad and his that won the 2006 World Cup.

The Azzurri are preparing to kick off their 2014 World Cup campaign on Saturday evening against England and have received the backing of the CT to last lead them to glory in the competition.

“The two years of qualifying counts for nothing and the warm-up stage also does not count - what only counts is how you come to this game and with who you arrive,” Lippi has explained in today’s edition of Tuttosport.

“The only things that matter are the condition of form and the general belief. I went to bid farewell to the national team at Coverciano and I perceived a compactness and unity of purpose.

“Psychologically, this group is close to that of Germany. Then, a lot depends on luck, from the episodes to the initial game.

“Eight years ago, in Coverciano, a mess broke out [Calciopoli] and people asked us what we were doing at the World Cup. Then we started to play and win.

“You have to have confidence. To worry is legitimate, because there are opponents. Starting with England.

“But we are stronger. History teaches us. We need to feel surrounded, so we build a fort and barricade ourselves inside.

“If we are calm and peaceful, we meet with disappointment, if [we are uncomfortable], then we have always done important things.”

Lippi considered some of the options open to Prandelli and whether not having a settled formation was an advantage.

“Modern teams should have two or three ways to play and, from time to time, in consideration of the opponent, you must take the most appropriate solutions.

“Verratti is young and talented - in Germany I focused on De Rossi, who was 20-years-old and talented. With the strong ones you do not have to map it out.

“Pirlo? Andrea is one of our three great champions. And he is a champion as well because he wants to win, not to participate.

“The defence? We must start from reality, which is one of our characteristics. I do not abide by the rule that ‘first you must not concede them’, but it is undeniable that we have always had a defence and goalkeeper of the highest level.

“In addition, the duel role of De Rossi lined up in front of the defence is a further guarantee. No, we must not be afraid.

“Balotelli or Immobile? Prandelli will not let slip the opportunity to use Immobile. The fact that he may not be a starter does not mean that he cannot be a protagonist. There will be many games…”

Even with his confidence in La Nazionale, the veteran is backing another European team to win this summer.

“Germany. I encountered Bayern Munich at the Club World Cup and saw the hand of Guardiola. The backbone of the Germany side consists of the Bavarian team, and I imagine so too the management capabilities of the ball and above all the ability to win it back.

“The Germans could be the first Europeans to win in South America. Then, I say Brazil, Argentina and Spain, of course.

“The surprise? France, yes. Deschamps has been able to build a team of quality. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal? A man alone, no matter how good, cannot triumph.”