Lippi defends Azzurri’s experience

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has warned against writing off his ageing squad ahead of their World Cup defence.

Lippi has been criticised for naming a squad which many believe is past its best as they prepare to take on Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F in South Africa.

Nine players who helped the Azzurri to World Cup glory in Germany four years ago are still in the squad this time around.

Daniele De Rossi, Alberto Gilardino, Vicenzo Iaquinta, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Gennaro Gattuso, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi and Fabio Cannavaro are the survivors who Lippi is warning against writing off.

"Everyone has always said that I'm too loyal to the players that lifted the World Cup," he said.

"But if you look closely, you'll find that I've changed half the squad compared to the 23 that were in Berlin in 2006.

"There are also lots of young players that have sufficient experience to come in and do a job. They represent the future of Italian football, but must also be its present.

"If I had to lead this team for an entire season, I probably would have made other choices. But for a month, it shouldn't pose a problem.

"And don't forget, there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle."

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