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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 22:15 GMT 23:15 UK
Lippi realises Italy final dream
Marcello Lippi celebrates after Italy's 2-0 win over Germany
Lippi celebrates after Italy's dramatic extra-time triumph
Marcello Lippi said Italy's success in reaching the World Cup final after their 2-0 victory over Germany fulfilled all his dreams as a coach.

"This is the realisation of a dream that has lasted a long time," said Lippi, after late extra-time goals from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro del Piero.

"If there was a team that was going to win this game, it was going to be us."

Italy made the final despite a domestic corruption scandal, just as they did when last winning the trophy in 1982.

The day had not started well with news that prosecutor Stefano Palazzi had recommended relegation for Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina as punishment for the clubs' suspected involvement in match-fixing.

It has been a complicated tournament for us - we have proved what a great group we are

Fabio Grosso

Thirteen of the Italy squad, none of whom are implicated in the scandal, play for the four accused Serie A clubs and could soon be considering their futures.

Lippi said: "Italian football is great football. It is very playful football but I will limit my comments to that."

Although Italy's goals arrived in the 119th and 120th minutes, Lippi said the Azzurri's victory was thoroughly deserved.

"In my view we controlled the match. We played against 50,000 people - the German supporters were fantastic," he said.

"We scored two excellent goals - it was good that we avoided penalties because as you know, this is always a lottery.

"They should be proud of what they've done, proud to have respected all the love and enthusiasm that there is in Italy for them.

"We have already received congratulations from the Prime Minister Romano Prodi."

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Lippi pinpointed Del Piero's introduction as changing the game's destiny.

"I was sure Del Piero would make an impact on the game," said Italy's coach.

"I looked at him very closely. I watched him before the match and I knew he was keen.

"When I sent him on, I said to my friends on the bench he would score the decisive goal.

"He really played such an important role and decided the match."

Del Piero added he was privileged to have taken part in one of the 2006 World Cup's most absorbing games.

"It was fantastic to be part of a match like that," said Del Piero, who came on as an extra-time substitute.

"To win in their own backyard - there aren't any words that describe what I'm feeling right now.

"I've had some criticism recently, but I demonstrated that my desire is as great as anyone else's."

Italy have managed to overcome the distraction of a match-fixing scandal back home to reach their first World Cup final since 1994.

Grosso, who scored the first against Germany, said: "It has been a complicated tournament for us with everything that has happened back home, and I think we have proved what a great group we are."

The Palermo defender added: "I am drunk with joy, I haven't got much to say only that it is a victory for a strong group of people."

SEE ALSO
Feast of football
05 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Last-gasp Italy knock Germany out
04 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Italian football's tangled web
18 May 06 |  Europe


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