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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
Italy coach wins backing
Giovanni Trapattoni came under fire following Italy's 2-1 loss to Croatia
'Trap' has been given the dreaded vote of confidence

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Facing a growing injury list, under-pressure coach Giovanni Trapattoni has received what amounts to the dreaded vote of confidence from the Italian FA.

Italy's erratic displays in Group G have provoked critical headlines at home and some experts have already called for 'Trap' to be axed if things go wrong during Thursday's do-or-die clash with Mexico.

Italian football chief Franco Carraro flew to the Azzuri's luxurious home in Sendai on Monday, just hours after a leading Italian sports daily had run the headline: "Vattene!" - Get out of it!

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The federation has great faith in Trapattoni
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Franco Carraro
Italian FA chief

Denying that the visit was anything other than routine, Carraro told a packed news conference that the team "had made errors" in the 2-1 defeat by Croatia on Saturday.

"But we also suffered a big dose of bad luck," he added, describing Croatia's winner as 'an own goal'.

Carraro reminded an increasingly critical press: "Francesco Totti had a free-kick that hit the left post and went across the goal and failed to go in by just centimetres".

But when pushed, he diplomatically refused to specify what errors had been committed.

"The federation has great faith in Trapattoni.

Paolo Maldini is expected to lead Italy out against Croatia
Italy need leadership from captain Maldini

"He has a very highly paid contract to make decisions on the technical side, and so a president like me shouldn't make comments on such things."

He denied that the FA regretted the recent two-year extention of Trapattoni's contract until 2004.

The presence in Japan of the chief of Italian football will do little to calm jangling nerves in a squad all too aware of the huge public expectations in Italy.

Those in the Azzurri camp are still livid about the controversial decisions that disallowed two Italian goals against Croatia.

And Carraro could not resist taking a shot at the mistakes made by officials during key football games.

"When I saw that there'd be an English referee, and English and Danish linesmen, I felt confident. But referees make errors in every match.

"Sometimes these errors influence the result, sometimes not. Saturday was one of those times that it influenced the result."


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MEXICO V ITALY
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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3




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