Andrea Pirlo named on bench for Italy’s clash with Slovakia

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
andrea pirlo

Pirlo picked up a calf injury during Italy's friendly with Mexico (Photo: Ming-Yueh Wang)

Andrea Pirlo will start on the bench for Italy’s crucial final Group E game against Slovakia this afternoon.

Marcello Lippi, Italy’s experienced head coach, has stressed the importance of an improved performance from the Italian offensive line and acknowledges that his team must score more goals.

“I don’t want this to be our last game. We want to arrive at another moment,” said Lippi.

“We need to be better in attack. Pirlo will be among the substitutes.”

Lippi, 62, urged his players to ignore criticism from the sniping Italian media, who have been extremely sceptical over the potential of the team’s ability to defend their World Cup crown.

“The external criticism? The team should not respond,” added Lippi.

Slovakia have failed to register a victory so far, but the Italian manager is not underestimating their opponents.

“They (Slovakia) have fast forwards who swap positions,” he said. “They have only one result available – the win and they will try to do so.”

Fabio Cannavaro, Italy’s captain, is confident the reigning champions can overcome the World Cup debutants in Group E.

“Our best is yet to come and our first win would change everything for us,” said Cannavaro. “We have no fear because that only drives you to make mistakes.”

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