Marcello Lippi defends his selection policy after draw

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
marcello lippi

Italy manager Marcello Lippi (Photo: Elena Torre)

Italy manager Marcello Lippi has defended his team selection in the wake of his side’s disappointing 1-1 draw with New Zealand.

“I have great confidence in this group,” said Lippi. “I am always convinced my choices are the right ones and I am totally convinced that there are no players we left at home that could have changed that match (against New Zealand).”

“We have the top scorer in the league (Serie A), Di Natale, Gilardino and Pazzini always score goals and Iaquinta has recovered well.

New Zealand caused one of the biggest upsets of the World Cup when they managed to hold the reigning champions yesterday afternoon.

West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Wood could even have snatched all three points for the football minnows, but placed his shot narrowly wide.

But Lippi admitted that he expected three points for Italy going into the match.

“Given the calibre of the opponent, we should have won.”

The defending champions sorely missed the creative influence of AC Milan’s Andrea Pirlo. The midfielder is still recovering from a calf injury but could feature against Slovakia on Thursday.

“We have hope but it’s not a certainty”, said Lippi on Pirlo’s return.

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