With their tickets booked to South Africa, the last qualifier tomorrow tonight at 2000 in Parma is a mere formality for the Azzurri. In the first leg, Cyprus gave Italy all they could handle, and the Azzurri were fortunate to escape with a 1 x 2 victory.
Comments Ahead of the Game
"Totti è una grandissima persona e un grandissimo giocatore - ha spiegato il c.t. in conferenza stampa, sulla scia dei commenti fatti ieri da Sacchi e dal presidente federale Abete -; pensate che non sappia che di qui a giugno ci saranno dei tormentoni? I tormentoni mi divertono, avanti con tutti quelli che volete".
"Francesco Totti is a great person and a great player" he said in reference to the wake from the comments yesterday by Arrigo Sacchi (former Azzurri manager) and Giancarlo Abete (President of the Italian FA) who said Totti should not return."Finora nella mia Nazionale nessun giocatore lo ha mai fatto". In ogni caso, Lippi ha precisato di "non voler fare nessun nome" per possibili inserimenti ma di considerare la lista per il Mondiale non chiusa. "Non escludo nulla - ha spiegato - dovrò fare valutazioni tecniche su questo gruppo di giocatori che ho ora a disposizione. E vedere tra i giocatori che non ci sono, anche nomi che non sono mai stati fatti, se davvero hanno le caratteristiche tecniche necessarie alla mia Nazionale".
"Do you think that there won't be tormentors between now and June? I like such things. Go ahead with whatever you like."
"Up to now, nobody has ever refused to play when I called on them for this team.""Non c'è la tensione del pre-gara, di quando c'è un risultato determinante da conquistare, ma quella di domani sarà comunque una partita importante, visto che è una gara a livello internazionale... Ci sarà una cosa che mi piace da morire, un fatto anomalo, cioè che giocheranno 11 giocatori diversi rispetto a sabato scorso. Avevo promesso al gruppo che se ci fossimo qualificati con una gara di anticipo, avrei fatto giocare tutti e ho mantenuto la promessa".
In any case, Lippi clarified that "I don't want to name names" for the possibility of inclusion but the roster for the World Cup is not closed.
"I don't exclude anyone" he explained, "I will have to make technical evaluations about this group of players that I have now at my disposal. And to see other players who are not here. Also names that have never been called-up, if they truly have the necessary technical characteristics for my National team."
"There isn't a pre-game tension since there isn't the necessity of a result to obtain, but the match of tomorrow night however will be an important one seeing that it is an international.
There will be something that pleases me to death, an ironic fact, such that 11 different players who didn't play with respect to last Saturday will start. I promised the group that if we qualified with a game in hand, I would play everyone and I have kept the promise."
Marcello Lippi, manager of the Azzurri.Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 13 October 2009.
Follow the Game Online
- If you would like to discuss the game with other Azzurri fans, please visit Anna Italia at her site: http://italiansoccerseriea.com. She provides a live matchcast in English.
- ESPN MatchTracker (In English)
- Gazzetta dello Sport MatchView (in Italian)
Santon, Gamberini, Cannavaro (capt.), Bocchetti
Pepe, D'Agostino, Gattuso
G. Rossi, Quagliarella
Manager: Mr. Lippi
Cyprus Starting XI: 4-4-2
Charalambous, Christou, Michail, Charalampidis
Ilia, Makridis, Okkas, Aloneftis
Manager: Mr. Anastasiades
Referee: Mr. Yefet
Weather and Field Conditions: Moderate and dry.
Mr. Lippi promised that the second string would start, and it might have given the Cypriots some needed incentive. They took control of the game very early, and were rewarded in the 12th minute on a goal by Okkas. The Azzurri looked very slow and indecisive. At the end of the first half, they were whistled of the Tardini pitch by parts of 15,000 in a very poor attendance for an international fixture.
Early in the second half, Michail volleyed past Marchetti to put Cyprus into fantasy land. They had never beaten the Azzurri, and their only draw was in 1983. But Mr. Lippi introduced a few of the old guard; namely, Mauro Camoranesi and Danielle De Rossi.
Several fine saves by Avgpousti kept Cyprus in the game, but the Azzurri started to exert more control over the match. In the 78th minute, Alberto Gilardino headed in a cross by Camoranesi. Three minutes later, Gila equalized from a pass by Quagliarella. Goal number three came in injury time by who else? Former Parma star Gilardino pushed the ball over the goal line after Quagliarelli had passed it. There seemed to be a deflection by a Cypriot defender, and it might have been an own goal.
A valiant effort by Cyprus, but the Azzurri showed why they are the World Champions. Good teams find a way to win even on nights when they shouldn't.
Italia: Gilardino, 78', 81', 92.
Cyprus: Okkas 12', Michail 47'
- This was the 73rd time that Fabio Cannavaro has captained Italy. According to press accounts, there were no bees in the vicinity of Signor Cannavaro tonight in Parma. ;-) Jokes aside, he has been an exemplary Azzurri captain.
- Three former Parma players started tonight: Cannavaro, Rossi, and Gilardino.
- Italy went unbeaten in 10 qualification games. They won 7 times and drew the other three.
- Alberto Gilardino has scored 4 goals in the last 2 games.
- During WC qualification, Italy scored 18 goals and conceded 7.
- During his two tenures, Mister Lippi has only lost 3 competitive games (Slovenia in 2004, Brasil and Egypt in 2009.)
- The next Azzurri fixture will be a friendly on 14 November in Pescara against The Netherlands. You may recall that the Orange of Holland destroyed the Azzurri last summer at Euro 2008.
"Abbiamo guadagnato sabato la qualificazione matematica a Dublino e potete immaginare la grande felicità, abbiamo anche festeggiato un po'. Ho cambiato questa sera la squadra per undici undicesimi, una particolarità che non esiste al mondo. Siamo campioni del mondo, veniamo qui a giocare una gara che non conta nulla e appena abbiamo un pò di difficoltà, visto che in campo c'era un'Italia non ha giocato insieme una volta, la gente invece di incitare i ragazzi comincia a gridare il nome di altri calciatori. È una cosa vergognosa: la gente deve amare la Nazionale perchè è capace di fare queste cose".
"We earned the mathematical qualification on Saturday in Dublin, and you can imagine the great joy, and we still celebrated a little since then. I changed the entire team tonight. 11 out of 11 which is something that doesn't happen anywhere else in the world.Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 14 October 2009.
We are world champions, we came here to play a match that doesn't count for anything and we had a little difficulty. Seeing that on the pitch was an Italy that had never played together before. The fans, instead of supporting the players, began to shout the names of other players (on the bench.)
It was a disgraceful thing: the people must love the National team because it is capable of doing these things."
Key Stats courtesy of SoccerNet
|Shots (on Goal)||16(11)||10(5)|
|Time of Possession||57%||43%|