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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 16:21 UK

Lippi chasing victory in Dublin

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER Rep of Ireland v Italy
Venue: Croke Park Date: 10 October Kick off: 2000 BST
Coverage: Live updates on the BBC website

Marcello Lippi
Marcello Lippi guided Italy to victory in the 2006 World Cup

Italy need just one point to qualify for the World Cup but coach Marcello Lippi insists they will be playing to win at Croke Park on Saturday.

The world champions lead Group Eight four points clear of the second-placed Republic with two games remaining.

"It's very important for us to qualify on Saturday," said Lippi.

"We need a point but it will be a mistake to play for the draw, we have to play our game."

A draw would be enough to guarantee the Republic a play-off place if Bulgaria fail win in Cyprus on Saturday.

Group Eight is completed by next Wednesday's fixtures when the Irish host Montenegro, Italy are at home to Cyprus and Bulgaria face Georgia.

Lippi added:"This is the most important week for us in the last two years."

If the Italians are beaten in Dublin, victory against Cyprus in Parma next Wednesday will ensure top spot and automatic qualification for Lippi's side.


The veteran coach is well known for maintaining an even keel but in Tuesday's press conference he lost his cool when asked about Antonio Cassano's continued absence from the squad.

Local media and Azzurri fans have called for Lippi to get the Sampdoria star back in the national side.

"I'm fed up with this question," said Lippi, who offered no further comment on the subject.

Cassano was in in Roberto Donadoni's Euro 2008 squad but ever since Lippi returned to guide the national team, the forward has not featured for Italy.

The striker does divide opinion but his supporters say that he has matured in his two seasons at Samp.

The Azzurri will be without captain Fabio Cannavaro for this weekend's showdown with the Juventus defender serving a one-match ban.

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is doubtful for the encounter as he is struggling with a minor knee injury.

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see also
Rowlands called up by Trapattoni
06 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni extends Republic stay
25 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni focusing on Italy game
06 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni hails 'important' win
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Cyprus 1-2 Republic of Ireland
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals

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ESPN Soccernet Preview: Ireland vs Italy - World Cup Qualifying - UEFA - 4 hrs ago
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