Lippi endorses Rossi on visit to Azzurri camp
ROME — Star coach Marcello Lippi has visited the Azzurri squad at their training camp in Coverciano, wishing them to repeat the success he had at the 2006 World Cup, the Italian football federation (FIGC) said yesterday. “It was a very moving visit,” the 66-year-old Lippi said. “I greeted everyone, the old and the new players. I found an environment that is quietly aware of what they are about to do, of their strength and quality.” Italy on May 20 began training under coach Cesare Prandelli for the 2014 World Cup, where they are to debut on June 14 against England ahead of Group D games against Costa Rica and Uruguay. The coach of China champions Guangzhou Evergrande led Italy to win their fourth world title. He resigned after the final won over France and returned in 2008 to steer the Azzurri to a disappointing World Cup campaign in 2010.
Lippi, who on Wednesday returned to his Italian residence inViareggio, about 100 kilometres from the Azzurri camp outside Florence, said that “it was very moving to see again this place and the many people I know here.” He had special words for Giuseppe Rossi, a 27-year-old from Fiorentina who is struggling to achieve top form after a knee injury that sidelined him from January to early May. The striker’s presence at the World Cup in Brazil is uncertain as Prandelli is to bring the current group of 30 footballers down to 23 and present an official list on Monday. “I told Rossi that I regret not taking him to South Africa (at the 2010 World Cup),” Lippi said. “I root for all the players of the Nazionale, but for him in particular, as it was the only time that I regretted not having called a player; for his class, his ability, his talent. “I talked to Prandelli. He is very motivated and I wished him good luck for a World Cup that will have Italy as protagonists. They are very similar to the team I coached,” the former Italian coach said. — DPA