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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Zoff defends tactics
Stefano Fiore and Filippo Inzaghi
Signs of entertainment after the second goal
Coach Dino Zoff has denied Italy have been boring, but said they must improve if they were to win the European Championship.

Italy's 2-0 victory over Belgium on Wednesday virtually guaranteed them a place in the quarter-finals, but it is the manner of the win that a number of critics have questioned.

Scoring after six minutes and then defending their lead for the next hour before the second goal on the counter-attack was not to everyone's liking, including former coach Arrigo Sacchi.

Sacchi could give the national side only back-handed praise in an editorial in La Stampa newspaper.

"Italy won by playing Italian-style," Sacchi wrote.

"It was a good Italy, in keeping with our habits and our mentality. It was the usual Italy - defensive, opportunist and maybe at times a little boring.

"We were very good in defence, even if we defended with too many players, always using the same 3-5-1-1 formation."

Zoff's defence

Zoff was quick to stick up for his side's approach.

"We didn't seem boring to me," he told a news conference at Italy's training camp in northern Belgium.

"We suffered a bit but I think that was to the credit of our opponents," he added.

However, not all aspects of Italy's play was to the liking of the coach.

"You can't always play like you'd like to," he said.



You can't always play like you'd like to

Dino Zoff

"We didn't pass the ball enough according to me. We have to play with the ball more in all areas of the pitch. That was the one thing I didn't like."

Italy now play their final group match against Sweden in Eindhoven on 19 June and suggested he would not change a winning side.

There are some worries, though, for the coach to ponder on.

Midfielder Gianluca Zambrotta twisted his left arm against Belgium but he will be fit to face the Swedes.

Zambrotta's Juventus team mate Gianluca Pessotto was left on the bench for the Belgium match but Zoff has said he too had almost recovered from a right calf injury.

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | Italy
Italy head for quarter-finals
11 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Inzaghi grateful for lucky break
06 Jun 00 | Italy
Zoff blasts Italian critics
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