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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Marcello Lippi: "I felt in debt to the Italian Federation."


Image courtesy of Paul Blank and http://www.postproduktie.nl/

His nickname is Paul Newman for obvious reasons, but Marcello Lippi has returned to the Azzurri bench after two years in semi-exile from il Giro Azzurro. He worked as a TV analyst for Sky Sports, and also traveled the world. In fact, he lectured at almost two dozen universities.

He also has a passion for sailing from his native Tuscan village of Viareggio.

Previous Record

18 wins
8 draws
2 losses (only one competitive loss against Slovenia)

History

Only the legendary "Mister," Vittorio Pozzo, has ever won two consecutive World Cups. Mister Lippi now embarks on this historical achievement.

Comments from His Press Conference

On His Return

"Se questi due anni sono stati persi sia per me che per la Nazionale? Io la Nazionale non l'avrei mai lasciata, ho dovuto farlo per motivi particolari a prescindere dall'esito del Mondiale. Ma questi due anni per la Nazionale non sono andati persi. Quel gruppo campione del mondo è stato integrato con Donadoni da altri giocatori importanti. L'espressione del calcio di una nazione non sono i club, ma la nazionale. Perchè ho deciso di tornare? Per un anno non ho neanche pensato ad andare in panchina, nonostante le tante offerte, anche da altre nazionali. Quando si sono avvicinati gli Europei ho sentito forte il desiderio di riprendere il posto che avevo lasciato e mi sono messo a disposizione nel caso ci fossero state le condizioni per tornare. In qualche maniera mi sentivo in debito con la Federazione. E rifiutare le altre offerte per poi tornare è stato un modo per pagare quel debito. Ma non avevo firmato nessun contratto, devo firmarlo ancora adesso".
"Have these two years been lost for me or the National team? I have never left the National team, I had to leave for particular motives after the success of the World Cup. But these last two years for the Azzurri have not been lost. That World Champion group was integrated with Donadoni and other important players. The expression of football from a nation is not by clubs, but by the National team.

Why did I decide to return? For a year, I didn't think at all of returning to coach, not withstanding the many offers, also from other countries. When the European Cup (Euro 2008) approached, I felt a strong desire to take over the position that I had left, and I made myself available in case there would have been conditions to return. In some way, I felt in debt to the Italian Federation. To decline the other offers and return to this one has been a way to pay that debt. But I hadn't signed any contract, I have to sign it right now."
Style of Play

"Cercheremo di praticare un calcio aggressivo, propositivo e intraprendente. Una grande squadra deve sapere far tutto: attaccare e difendere"... Torno per vincere. Per riprovare le sensazioni del passato. Quelle del trionfo, ma anche quelle di unità e compattezza con tutto il gruppo. Non dovremo pensare però che la qualificazione al prossimo Mondiale sia una formalità."
"We will look to practice an aggressive football, very positive and intertwined. A great team has to know how to do everything: attack and defend... I return to win. To relive the sensations of the past. Those of the triumph, but also those of the unity and compactness of the whole group. We will not think, however, that qualification for the next World Cup is a formality."
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 01 July 2008.

Back Room Staff

He will be assisted by Ciro Ferrara and Angelo Peruzzi. He coached both at Juventus. Ferrara was on the staff during World Cup 2006, and Peruzzi was the third keeper.

First Friendly and WC 2010 Qualification Round

Their first friendly will be in August against Austria in Nice, France. He also mentioned that a friendly against Brasil will take place next February in London. The Azzurri will also feature in the 2009 Confederations Cup that will take place in South Africa.

But the real business will begin in a few months on the long road to South Africa.

In bocca al lupo, Mister Lippi.

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