One day after Italy’s 0-0 draw against Bulgaria, Azzurri coach Marcello Lippi is satisfied with his boys. Not so much perhaps with the lack of three points obtained Saturday (even though, he says, “the match against Bulgaria was an exam that we passed, despite not creating many scoring chances“), but rather because the current Italy squad reminds him of another glorious one… circa 2006.
“For this stage in qualifying, we are at a more advanced level than the team I had before the last World Cup”, said Lippi. “This team has the right team spirit that took us to the World Champions title, and the magical chemistry that is necessary to achieve great things. I was very pleased to hear Daniele De Rossi say that it is easy for new faces to settle in to this squad, including the youngsters. De Rossi is a perfect example of this: he made the team at age 20, and then became a World Champion. This gives me great hope for the future“.
And speaking of youngsters, the Italian coach was quite satisfied with the performances of Azzurri newcomers Simone Pepe, Riccardo Montolivo, and Giuseppe Rossi. “Rossi is a born player, he’s fully ready for this team” smiled the Coach. “He has gone around the world. I called him early because he is a particularly special player, one who raced through the process, much like De Rossi in his career.”
“The young ones all did well yesterday“, continued the coach. “In general, I liked the way our team played: we were well-organized on the field without conceding chances, and the reason we didn’t create many ourselves is because Bulgaria had adopted a very cautious tactical approach.” In other words, don’t be expecting too many changes for Wednesday’s match against Montenegro. “I will make some changes, but not many. We’ll have to evaluate the fitness situation of our injured players first.”
Such as Daniele De Rossi and Gennaro Gattuso, who both up a thigh and knee knock respectively during Saturday’s game and post-match training. Meanwhile Luca Toni, who earned a suspension during Saturday’s match against Bulgaria, was replaced by Udinese striker Fabio Quagliarella (called up for the first time during Lippi’s second term). Yup, still no Cassano…
During the afternoon training session, the Azzurri played a friendly match against Lecce’s youth squad. Alberto Aquilani appeared very much in form during the match, and will be a likely candidate for a starting role against Montenegro (probably replacing Montolivo). The match ended 3-0 for Italy, including a double by Daniele De Rossi.
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