Lippi stands up for struggling Italy

Marcello Lippi thought his Italy side had created enough chances to beat New Zealand comfortably in Sunday's Group F clash.

The Azzurri, winners of the World Cup four years ago, were forced to come from behind before securing an unimpressive 1-1 draw against a New Zealand side that had been tagged as one of the weakest in the tournament.

Former Mansfield Town and Halifax Town striker Shane Smeltz had given the All Whites a seventh-minute lead only for Vincenzo Iaquinta to equalise with a hotly-contested penalty.

However, Lippi said after the draw:"We're just sorry we didn't win a match we could have.

"If we don't beat New Zealand it's our fault. Once again the opponents scored with their first chance. We were able to control the game after that, but this was a match we should have won.

"The players weren't as enterprising as they should have been. Again we were very unfortunate. It's not like we didn't do great things, although you always need to do more.

"It's not a problem with our attack, but we do have to improve. I hope Andrea Pirlo can give us a hand. He is a great player, but at the moment, he isn't ready."

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