Verona striker Luca Toni claimed he is in good enough form to play at the World Cup for Italy after scoring the winner against Chievo.
Toni notched his 16th goal of the Serie A season on Saturday as Verona won the Derby della Scala 1-0 against local rivals Chievo, with the 36-year-old striker sitting behind only Carlos Tevez of Juventus (18 goals) and Torino’s Ciro Immobile (17) in the goal-scoring charts.
In the 65th minute of the Verona derby, Toni reacted first when Fabrizio Cacciatore’s cross bounced in Chievo’s penalty area, with the veteran forward stabbing the ball into the net.
Toni has not played for Italy since the 2009 Confederations Cup but he believes he is in good enough form to warrant consideration for Brazil 2014.
“Why not?” Toni responded Sky Sport Italia, when asked if he felt he could make it to Brazil.
“After all, if strikers who scored fewer goals than me this season are being considered, then it makes sense I should be too.”
The derby win was Verona’s second league victory in a row and coach Andrea Mandorlini dedicated the triumph to the club’s fans.
Verona had not defeated Chievo since 2001 before Saturday and the three points moved them up to 46 for the season in eighth in Serie A; only four behind Inter, who occupy Italy’s final UEFA Europa League berth in fifth spot.
“We really wanted this win but started off far too tense and Chievo played better in the first half,” Mandorlini said.
“It was a game we cared about a great deal for our fans and the dedication goes to them.
“I feared we’d concede an equaliser at the end, as we had missed a couple of decisive scoring opportunities.
“Now we have to take it one game at a time, because as soon as we started to think about Europe, the results stopped coming.”
Mandorlini’s counterpart at Chievo – Eugenio Corini – declared he had seen enough at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi to suggest his team, who lie 16th, just two points outside the relegation zone, can avoid the drop.
“In the first half we controlled the game, whereas Verona had a stronger start in the first 15 minutes after the restart,” Corini said.
“We had been getting back into it but (Verona) scored a goal. We had three or four chances to equalise but couldn’t finish them off.
“There are regrets but with this hunger and determination we can fight to the end for safety.”
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