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Italy 1-1 New Zealand

Lippi unhappy at Italy approach

June 20, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has bemoaned his teams poor defending and inability to create chances after they could only manage a 1-1 draw against New Zealand on Sunday.

Marcello Lippi's Italy drew 1-1 with New Zealand on Sunday.
GettyImagesMarcello Lippi's Italy drew 1-1 with New Zealand on Sunday.

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Italy fell behind to a Shane Smeltz goal after seven minutes, and only managed to equalise when Vincenzo Iaquinta converted a first half penalty.

"It was a struggle and again started badly," Lippi said. "For the second time we conceded at the first ball punted hopefully into the box."

"We dominated, and put in a lot of effort. That certainly wasn't lacking, but we were missing some sharpness and initiative from some players. We hit the woodwork and created some chances, but considering the domination overall we didn't create nearly enough."

The 62-year-old coach believes his team adopted the wrong approach by continually putting crosses into the New Zealand box, and he attempted to address the issue as the match progressed.

"It wasn't wise to continue putting in crosses when the New Zealand defenders were two metres tall," he said. "Di Natale and Camoranesi were introduced to drag the three defenders out of position, so we wanted to make the most of our strengths and different characteristics."

"We were playing against a very tall and physical side who took the lead straight away. It's a shame, as we knew it was the only way they would cause us problems.

"The problem is that we know how to play much better than this. The effort was admirable, but we can do so much more. It was a gift to New Zealand to keep putting those crosses in."

Lippi took off midfielder Simone Pepe at half time, and he confirmed that he withdrew the 26-year-old because he was not happy with his performance.

"Pepe did different things from what I had requested of him," he said. "So I changed. It wasn't a punishment, though, but rather trying to use different characteristics against a side that never left its own half."

His counterpart Ricki Herbert was delighted with his teams performance, although he did question the referee's performance.

"These boys just keep responding," Herbert said. "We knew we'd be up against it tonight. I thought some of the (referee's) decisions were quite strange."

The All Whites coach went on to state his team will put in another dedicated performance in their final match against Slovakia, where a positive result could see them qualify for the second round.

"We are going to turn up and we are going to be bloody hard to beat, I'll tell you that," he said.