Italy are not World Cup favourites, says Lippi

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
marcello lippi

Lippi does not believe the defending champions are favourites (Photo: Elena Torre)

Marcello Lippi insists defending champions Italy are not favourites to triumph at the forthcoming World Cup.

Instead Italy’s head coach labelled Brazil and Spain as the teams to beat in South Africa and suggested the supporting cast will be comprised of Argentina, England, France, Holland and Italy.

“Brazil and Spain are obviously the favourites,” Lippi told La Gazetta dello Sport. “Then there are five or six other teams such as Argentina, England, France, Holland and us.”

In a recent interview Giancarlo Abete, the head of the Italian football federation, stated his belief that Italy are not favourites in South Africa this summer.

When asked about Abete’s comments, Lippi said: “I agree. We have never been absolute favourites.”

The former Juventus manager rejected claims his side were too old, insisting experience was a key ingredient of any World Cup-winning squad and only nine members of the successful 2006 squad are in this year’s team.

“I’ve never seen any team that wins the World Cup show up four years later with 23 new players,” the 62-year-old said of his selection policy.

Remarkably, despite the wealth of experience at Lippi’s disposal, the age of the Italian squad is eclipsed by its Australian, Brazilian and English counterparts.

Fabio Capello’s 23-man England party boast an average age of 28.7 years in comparison with Italy’s 28.2.

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