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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Totti ready for opener
Totti has now recovered from his thigh injury
Totti played against Kashima Antlers on Sunday
Italy playmaker Francesco Totti has said he will be fit for his team's opening World Cup match, against Ecuador on 3 June.

The Roma forward is recovering from a thigh injury and has not played a competitive fixture for two months.

But he played for 45 minutes of Italy's warm-up match against Kashima Antlers on Sunday - and is confident he will be in peak condition for the World Cup.

"I am in almost perfect condition now, probably all I am missing is some games under my belt," Totti said on Tuesday.

"I will be at the maximum against Ecuador.

"After two months out of action it is not easy but step by step I am getting there."

If Totti is not fully match-fit for his team's opening game, coach Giovanni Trapattoni is expected to play him as a striker alongside Christian Vieri.

Open Quote
My hope is that I can go all the way here - but I know it won't be easy
Close Quote
Francesco Totti

"We haven't talked about it but whether I play as a support striker to Vieri or as a playmaker there is no problem," said Totti.

Ideally Trapattoni would like to play Vieri alongside AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi, with Totti just behind the front two.

But Inzaghi is expected to miss the opening game with a knee injury.

"Pippo Inzaghi is a very important player for us, but we have four other strikers and whoever plays will do well, I am sure of that," said Totti.

The Roma skipper is confident Italy can build on their experience at Euro 2000, when the team reached the final before losing to France on the Golden Goal rule.

"We want to play with the same consistency as at Euro 2000, but with a different result at the end," said Totti.

"We are more united now and we have spent a lot of time together and know each other well.

"My hope is that I can go all the way here but I know that it won't be easy."

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GROUP G
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MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

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