Nazionale Azzurra: Lippi calls the past

Marcello Lippi’s decision to include eight Juventus players has left many people scratching their head. Juventus have had a dreadful season and is currently sitting at seventh place. This could be considered a huge gamble on Lippi’s part. The preliminary 30 man squad consists of eight Juventus players including: Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Fabio Grosso, Mauro Camoranesi, Antonio Candreva, Claudio Marchisio and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

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Five of these players lifted the World Cup four years ago in Berlin. Maybe Lippi has gone with this line- up because they have won it and maybe he thinks they are still good enough to put up a decent challenge, who knows? All is known for certain is that they are four years older and slower. However one should never underestimate the wealth of experience they bring, and also how their very presence can affect mood in the dressing room. Lippi was also Coach of Juventus once upon a time and is most likely willing to put his faith in a group of players he knows and has a good relationship with, than take a chance on lesser known players with little experience on the big stage.

The fact that the Bianconeri are seventh in the serie A is an issue that should be looked at with more scrutiny. The Old Lady has only been able to keep a mere seven clean sheets in the season so far winning 16 and losing 14 – not exactly statistics that would make you want to base a World Cup squad on. However one can also hope that because these players have had a dreadful season they would be more motivated to play harder to prove to themselves and to the tifosi.

It would be unwise to rule out players just because they have had an indifferent domestic campaign, one only has to remember the legendary Paolo Rossi who helped La Nazionale win the competition in 1982. He had been banned from the game for two year over an alleged betting scandal that had engulfed the Serie A, it was hardly a surprise that he had seemed like a “ghost” for the first few games. He made little impact on the game and was a shadow of himself and even though he was willing to attack, he didn’t have the tenacity to produce anything. That was until Rossi scored three memorable goals against Brazil to secure a place in the semi- final against Poland, and again it was his two goals that won the game and lead them into the final against West Germany. And it was in this match where his first goal helped Italy secure a 3-1 victory and their third World Cup. He ended that competition by winning the Golden Boot with six goals and his achievements in Spain helped him win the European Player of the Year and World Player of the Year award.

This just further proves, that if the urge to re-build your reputation is great enough, it can motivate you to do extraordinary feats.

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