Italian coach Marcello Lippi said Monday that his country’s strong group identity would play a bigger role than individual talent as the Azzurri attempt to retain their world title in South Africa next summer.
“We are going to try (to win) even if we know that it will be difficult to pull it off,” Lippi said during a meeting with students in the northern city of Vicenza.
“Italy is a team comprising great players across the board, from the world’s best keeper (Gianluigi) Buffon onwards. We hope to arrive (for the World Cup finals) in good condition with all the players at their physical peak.
“Our strong point will once again be the group. That has been my secret ever since I began coaching in Serie C,” said Lippi, adding there was evidence that individual stars were not enough.
“Confirmation of the fact that the group is fundamental, is that a player such as (Sweden’s Zlatan) Ibrahimovic will not be at the World Cup while (Argentina’s Leo) Messi, who will probably be crowned world player of the year, and Cristiano Ronaldo only just qualified with their countries.”