FIGC president Abete: Lippi has our full confidence

FIGC president Giancarlo Abete insists the federation has full confidence in Italy coach Marcello Lippi.

FIGC president Giancarlo Abete insists the federation has full confidence in Italy coach Marcello Lippi.

Lippi has come under fire for not selecting the likes of Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano who could give his team a much-needed creative spark.

Abete said: “It's completely legitimate and right to express opinions, but this is not Italian football's problem.

“We have a complex problem of generational transition. Cassano has already played at the European Championship and it didn't go well.

“Balotelli plays steadily with the Under-21s who are trying to qualify. There aren't players back in Italy who were voted among the top places for the Ballon d'Or. If we think about the players who were not called up, we risk taking the wrong path.

“I have spoken to and seen Lippi this morning. He has a lot of conviction to go forward. We must go forward because we believe.

“I am confident because I think that the national team deserves confidence and I think that in some way we will be in a position to go forward and do better, not just because in these circumstances confidence is an obligation, but because it's a strong conviction.

“The New Zealand game didn't live up to our expectations. We knew that it wouldn't be easy, but there was the conviction of being able to win.

“We must clarify that all the strongest teams in Europe are having a problem. There is a general improvement in the standard of world football, but we are still in a position to make the difference.”

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