Lippi dreaming of Italy-England final

ROME - Marcello Lippi says he hopes his Italy side meet England in this year's World Cup final so he can see how fellow Italian Fabio Capello would cope with the conflicting emotions.

"Dreaming a little, like I did last time, I'd like a beautiful final between Italy and England," Lippi, who led the Azzurri to World Cup glory in 2006, told reporters on Thursday.

"I'd like to see how Fabio Capello would react when the Italian national anthem is played. I'd really like that."

Lippi praised the job Capello has done as England manager, transforming a side that failed to qualify for Euro 2008 into credible contenders for victory in South Africa.

"It's normal to expect positive results from a team trained by Capello," he said.

"He's contributed with his personality, his charisma and ability to creating a team that look extremely solid. Naturally, qualifying is one thing, the World Cup finals are another."

Lippi said he had already decided on most of the players he will take to South Africa.

"In my head I already have about 70 percent of the squad, 16 or 17 sure players," he said. "There are about six places available to complete the squad."

Before the World Cup, which starts on June 11, Italy will play Cameroon in Monte Carlo on March 3 and Switzerland in Geneva on June 5, the Italian Football Federation confirmed on Thursday.

The federation said it was also trying to arrange a warm-up game against Mexico for June 3.