PRETORIA - Italian coach Marcello Lippi said he did not intend to change any of his planning for the World Cup next year, despite seeing his team eliminated from the Confederations Cup at the group stage on Sunday. The world champions were well beaten 3-0 by an attacking, free-flowing Brazil who scored three times in an eight-minute spell just before halftime. Italy finished third in the group on goal difference after the United States' shock 3-0 win over Egypt saw them snatch second place despite starting the day in last place with no points from their opening two games. However, Lippi said he was right to make the selection he did and did not regret not giving any more youngsters a chance to make their mark in the team. "What youngsters?," he queried when asked at his post-match media conference why he did not pick some younger players. "You cannot throw seven or eight young players in at once, you need to integrate them, to change the team slowly. The best team I could choose was the one standing on the pitch tonight." Italy were the oldest team in the competition with an average age of 28, although 35-year-old captain Fabio Cannavaro had a bitter-sweet night as he equalled Paolo Maldini's record of 126 appearances for his country. The still-nimble defender was unable to prevent any of Brazil's goals, scored before halftime by Luis Fabiano, who grabbed two, and an own goal from Andrea Dossena. "If I do have any regrets it is that this was not the correct image of this team for the world to see," said Lippi. "I know our performance was disappointing and we have to go home, but it was not the real Italy tonight." It looked like the real Brazil though. They hit the woodwork twice before taking the lead through Fabiano after 37 minutes. Then the same player made it 2-0 six minutes later. An own goal by Dossena just before halftime completed the scoring. Fabiano told reporters: "We are very well prepared and we are full of self-confidence. I have a dream of playing in the World Cup next year and I cannot wait to live that dream." Brazilian coach Dunga said: "I am delighted with the way we played. The longer we stay together the better we get." In the semis, they face South Africa who are also coached by a Brazilian -- Joel Santana. Dunga said: "He is one of the most respected coaches in Brazil, but we are not playing Joel Santana, we are playing South Africa. They are strong and as hosts will be hard to beat, but I have faith in my men." Meanwhile, police are investigating the alleged theft of some money from the Brazilian team's hotel rooms involving a physio and the player Kleber.
22 June 2009
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