Azzurri will retain focus: Lippi04/06/2012 - 12:02:23
Former Italy coach Marcello Lippi is confident the national team will be able to focus on football and block out the match-fixing controversy when they travel to the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.
The Azzurri, now coached by Cesare Prandelli, leave for Krakow tomorrow for a Group C campaign which will see them face defending champions Spain, Croatia and Ireland.
“It feels as though they are going through the same experience as that of 2006,” said Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup glory in Germany six years ago despite the huge distraction of a match-fixing scandal.
“I remember that week in Coverciano [ahead of the tournament in Germany] was not easy for us and there was the fear of what people would have said of us abroad, but no one said anything in Germany.
“I believe that as soon as the national team travels to Poland, their only thoughts will be on football, on training and on the European Championship.”
Italy lost 3-0 to Russia in Friday’s warm-up friendly in Zurich.
Despite the below-par display, former Italy forward Sandro Mazzola believes Prandelli’s team can do well at Euro 2012.
“I think the national team was conditioned by what happened during the week in their game against Russia,” Mazzola said. “But in any case the performance was not good and they only had two chances of goal throughout the game.
“Regardless of that game, I believe the national team can be among the top four at the European Championship.
“I think it is a good thing that we will start against Spain as we have nothing to lose and it is a great opportunity to prove our worth.”
The Azzurri begin their campaign against Vicente del Bosque’s Spain on Sunday.
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