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Lippi: “I Regret Not Taking Rossi To South Africa”

In an interview with La Gazzetta at Italy’s training ground, Marcelo Lippi spoke about the regret he still has for not taking Rossi to the World Cup four years ago, and believes the team will be stronger with the inclusion of the young Fiorentina striker.

There are certain names in Italian football that demand complete reverence, Marcelo Lippi is one of them. Lippi, who has won five Scudettos and a Champions League with Juventus and helped Italy win their fourth star at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, took a break from China to visit the national team at their training ground the other day.

Visiting the training ground at Coverciano, Lippi meet with current boss, Cesare Prandelli, and spoke to the players preparing for the tournament in Brazil next month. Italian paper La Gazzetta also had a chance to get an interview with the former manager.

Speaking about his hopes from the Prandelli and the players, Lippi stated “I hope he has good luck, and the players don’t get any problems. I was unfortunate in South Africa with Pirlo and Buffon. Four years I lost Pirlo and Buffon, and De Rossi was only 30% fit after his calf problems. Losing players can definitely create tension. Next, I hope he has good luck with the draw. It is one thing to face Australia and Ukraine in the knock out stages, and it is another to bump into Brazil and Argentina. Also they need to play well, like we did in the semi-finals against Germany.”

Rossi has managed to return to fitness late on in the season, and was able to be included into Prandelli’s preliminary squad. Speaking about the young Italian striker, Lippi admitted it was a mistake for him not to have been included in the 2010 World Cup, “I told him that that was the only time in my career that I regretted something. He is clever, he has class, he is a genius.” However, Lippi had reserved statements to say about other controversial figures in the team, particular Cassano and Balotelli, “There are some things I do not touch. But I greeted everyone on the team.”

Speaking on Italy’s chances at this years World Cup, Lippi stated that he didn’t see England as threat to the team qualifying from the Group “We are stronger, we have better “weapons” at out disposal.”, and believed Italy will be there at the end trying to win the tournament, “Brazil have five stars, and Italy have 4. If we had won the penalty shoot out in ‘94 it would be a different story. What I am trying to say is that there are certain nations at the World Cup who go out to win, these are Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany.”

Lippi ended the interview by announcing that although he believes Italy to be fighting until the end to win in Brazil, he believes that the World Cup ultimately will be coming down to one of two countries, “I think Brazil, but something in my head is telling me Germany. However, I hope Italy win of course.”



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