Lippi riding on self-belief

Lippi riding on self-belief

Lippi riding on self-belief

Marcello Lippi

Lippi was hailed as a national hero after beating the odds and leading the Azzurri to glory four years ago but, after stepping down and then reassuming control in 2008, his popularity has taken a hit.

World Cup winners such as Fabio Cannavaro and Mauro Camoranesi have stayed central to his plans despite being out of form and the wrong side of 30 while only a few young players have been given their chance, some for just a friendly.

However, the 62-year-old coach, who has said he made a mistake in resigning in 2006, makes no apologies for his choices.

"Others say we are not in form but let's wait for the competition," Lippi said recently.
Lippi's future after the World Cup is under the microscope and he has appeared at odds with Italian federation president Giancarlo Abete.

The president wants to know before the World Cup who will be the coach afterwards but Lippi prefers to wait to see how his side progress and how he feels after South Africa.
Recent talks suggest Abete has got his way and media have speculated that Lippi will announce before the June 11-July 11 tournament that he will step down when Italy's campaign ends.

The confusion over his future, a lacklustre if unbeaten qualification campaign and uncertainty over his preferred starting 11 mean he is not the darling of the fans that he used to be.  However, all that could change if his strong will, technical acumen and expert man-management skills help Italy to prosper.

Italy are in Group F with Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.