Lippi: Italy will not play for draw

FLORENCE - Italy will go for a win against Ireland and belie their cautious image despite needing only a point to qualify for the World Cup, coach Marcello Lippi said on Tuesday. The world champions top Group Eight by four points and even defeat by second-placed Ireland in Dublin on Saturday would not matter as long as they beat Cyprus in Parma four days later. "It would be an error to play for a draw on Saturday," Lippi told a news conference at Italy's training base near Florence.

"We know we have two of the three possible results in our favour but the team has to play like it can."

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni, the 70-year-old Italian who managed the Azzurri without great success from 2000 to 2004, was famous for his cautious approach to Italy matches.

Lippi said his lineup or formation were not yet decided given a few players were carrying niggles.

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio impressed on the left of a midfield diamond in September's 2-0 win over Bulgaria, Italy's best performance in months, but missed Tuesday's early training.

"Marchisio has a little problem, we have to check the condition of some players in the next two to three days," Lippi said. The World Cup-winning coach again became frustrated when asked about why Sampdoria's talented playmaker Antonio Cassano, Serie A's standout player this term, had again been overlooked.

"You have irritated me," Lippi said, adding his assistant Narciso Pezzotti was "mad" for saying Cassano would be recalled.

He was coy on the sacking of Napoli coach Roberto Donadoni, who was Italy boss between Lippi resigning after the 2006 World Cup win and retaking the job following a dismal Euro 2008.

"Other than displeasure and solidarity for a coach who has lost his job, I have nothing else to say," he said.