Lippi’s Italy beaten by Mexico in World Cup warm-up
Mexico dented Italy’s World Cup preparations with a comprehensive 2-1 defeat in a warm-up match in Innsbruck yesterday.
The reigning world champions are looking to defend their 2006 crown, a feat which the Italians have not managed since their 1934 and 1938 victories.
Marcello Lippi has already urged the Italian fans back his team amid a wave of scepticism in the nation and the loss to Mexico will not help to quell doubts over the capabilities of this ageing Azzurri side.
Arsenal’s Carlos Vela scored the opener for Mexico after 17 minutes with second-half substitute Alberto Medina adding to the lead.
Both goals were created with alarming ease as the Italian defence, marshalled by the experienced Fabio Cannavaro, looked vulnerable when dealing with direct long balls.
The lack of pace in the Italian squad -especially amongst their defenders -is an aspect their World Cup opponents will look to capitalise on.
Leonardo Bonucci snatched a consolation for the Italians but it provided little solace for Lippi who will be concerned with the ailing performances of his side.
The Italian manager has openly voiced his concerns about their prospects in the World Cup following the defeat.
His players complained of having “heavy legs” but Lippi admitted he thought his side “were better” than the performance they produced against Mexico.
He remains confident, however, that Italy can improve in time for their opening Group F game against New Zealand.
“Many times we have seen teams start well and then lose in the World Cup,” said Lippi.
The World Cup-winning coach replaced Roberto Donadini following a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign. But Lippi has failed to rejuvenate his side, who have suffered a string of disappointing results culminating in the Mexico loss.
Italy have drawn four of their international friendly matches since August 2009.