World Cup Soccer 2010: New Zealand set to bully Italy

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Rickie Fowler

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  • World Cup Soccer 2010: New Zealand set to bully Italy

World Cup Soccer 2010: New Zealand set to bully Italy

 Four time World Cup Soccer champions Italy, who are also the defending champions in South Africa 2010 are preparing for their vital Group F clash against New Zealand.


However, their preparations for the match have been marred by an unusual fear - a height complex - due to the difference in height between the two teams.


Marcello Lippi, who is coaching the reigning champions, will hope that his team shrugs of this height complex which has plagued Italy ahead of the match against New Zealand.


Football wise this should hardly be a contest and the 78th ranked New Zealand should not provide much of a test to a team that has been crowned the world’s best on four different occasions.  Despite this achievement, Italy is taking their usual defensive approach to another level.


Lippi addressed a press conference in Nelspruit and emphasised that his team’s tactics would be the key for the match and not the height fear of his players.


The Italian coach added that his team should not worry about the ‘All Whites’ in technically terms. However, they needed to be wary of the physical strength and the ability of the players to head the ball.


The height complex stemmed from Italy’s opening draw against South Americans Paraguay, when team captain Fabio Cannavaro failed to jump high enough and was caught out by Antolin Alcatraz’s header that resulted in Paraguay’s goal.


Since then, the defending champions have feared the height of the ‘All Whites’ – the common name for the New Zealand football team.


Italy would once again be without the services of midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who missed the opening match due to a calf injury.


He is however expected to be fit for the final group game against Slovakia on Thursday.


Another injury that has hit the preparations is that of goal-keeper Gian Luigi Buffon who has been ruled out due to a back injury.


Lippi hopes that the team that will start the game against the ‘All Whites’ by scoring goals and by shrugging off injury concerns.


“We don't have (goalkeeper) Buffon; we don't have Pirlo; we started with Chiellini who was out for 10 days, he was on the margins of the team; we had problems with Camoranesi, with Marchisio; it hasn't been a very fortunate beginning from that respect, but the important thing is that the team believes in this and these beliefs need to be transformed into goals out there in the field,” declared an optimistic Lippi.


Meanwhile, New Zealand are hopeful of making it to the second round of the competition after their encouraging start against Slovakia, against whom they drew 1-1.


The ‘All Whites’ proved their tenacity for the big occasion by stealing a last minute equaliser in the opening match and are confident that they can build on their solid start.


The ‘All Whites’ have been bolstered by the return of midfielder Tim Brown. Despite his recovery, Coach Ricki Herbert remained cautious of including him in the line-up. Herbert felt that his return to the squad is good news but he would field him only if the need arises in the game against Italy.


However, he added that Brown should be aiming for a return against Paraguay in the last group match for New Zealand.


New Zealand has returned to the World Cup after 28 long years, and the rugby mad nation is hopeful that this team will make it to the second round of the competition.


Team captain Ryan Nelsen cautioned about their rivals Italy by declaring that the his team was to play an attacking brand of football in order to make the four time world champions work all the way in the 90 minutes of action.



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