Saturday, October 10, 2009

Now The Work Really Begins For Marcello Lippi

It was the draw we all expected but not, perhaps, in the tedious manner many predicted. A late, late Alberto Gilardino strike put the World champions on the plane to defend their title. However, it cannot be allowed to hide this side's deficiencies.

At this moment in time, Italy would truly have their work cut out to make it very far in South Africa. The team still looks unsure of itself. And, too often, it is overpowered by its opposition.

What is not missing, however, is character.

It took some guts to come from behind twice at Croke Park against Ireland. Maybe Trapattoni's men were not too bothered about pushing for the win after the score filtered through from other group game in Cyprus. Nonetheless, the Azzurri at least showed some much-needed "grinta" to book their spot with a match to spare.

Now comes the hard part of filling in the gaps in the squad.

An understudy to Gigi Buffon needs to gain experience and credibility. It's time to let some youthful zest play down the flanks to supplement what Zambrotta and Grosso have left to offer. A new Gattuso also needs to be found.

Then there is the little matter of resolving the questions over Amauri and Antonio Cassano - although Lippi seems to have made up his mind on the latter.

However, we'll enjoy this qualification for the time being. It allows Wednesday night to be more experimental and relaxed. Mind you, with Cyprus thrashing Bulgaria on Saturday, I wouldn't want to take the foot off the gas entirely.

I hope we don't give up our world crown without a fight. At least we are in a position to scrap it out next summer. It's up to Lippi to ensure we go as far as we can.


patcook said...

positives are:

no one has us as favourites so the pressure wont be too great even though we are defending champions

no one can accuse us of peaking early. We have plenty of room to improve, which is probably easier than trying to maintain form into the world cup.

ginkers said...

Two good points. Here is hoping you are right.

Anonymous said...

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