Grosso out of Italy plans

Scorer of decisive penalty in World Cup 2006 axed by defending champions' prelim squad.

    Lippi indicated that Grosso's form for struggling Juve did not justify his inclusion [AFP]

    Italy coach Marcello Lippi left Fabio Grosso out of the preliminary squad for the World Cup, saying his decisive penalty in the final four years ago could not be cause for inclusion this time.

    Grosso has been in poor form for Juventus and was cut from the 30-man preliminary squad along with teammate Antonio Candreva.

    Lippi will wait until nearer the June 1 deadline to trim his squad down to the final 23.

    "I don't do an Italy with debts of gratitude," Lippi said on Tuesday.

    The Azzurri face Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group in South Africa.

    Grosso's exclusion was still a surprise given Lippi has tried to base his group on the 2006 World Cup winners, despite his struggles during Juve's miserable season.

    Limited experience

    Genoa's Domenico Criscito now looks set to play left back despite limited international experience.

    Midfielder Candreva was always on the fringes of the squad.

    Lippi made no direct comment about his future but again hinted he will step down after the World Cup, just like he did four years ago, with the Italian soccer federation promising a final decision before the team depart for South Africa.

    Italy head for altitude training on Sunday in the Alpine ski resort of Sestriere in a bid to get used to South African conditions and Lippi now has extra time to run the rule over his strikers with perhaps two needing to be cut.

    He decided against recalling injury-prone Roma forward Francesco Totti, officially retired from international football, when he named his 30-man squad last week.

    "We all know the difficulty of Totti playing one game every three days," Lippi said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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