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By ESPN Staff

Totti to feature against Ghana - Lippi

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has confirmed that playmaker Francesco Totti will play in Monday's World Cup opener against Ghana.

Totti, who recently recovered from a serious leg injury, has shown a vast improvement during this week's training.

'I have evaluated Totti's form and I've seen him grow in confidence and fitness,' said Lippi.

'Totti will play against Ghana. I never doubted that he wouldn't recover having seen him improve in every training session. He may not play the whole game, though.'

Lippi admits he knows who will take to the pitch for the Group E clash, but will not announce it until just before the game.

'I have decided the starting XI,' he said. 'The players don't know it yet, I will tell them tomorrow morning.'

Lippi has emphasised the importance of winning the match for the morale of his players but believes his team are desperate to get their adventure under way.

'If we lose or draw the game against Ghana, it will be very difficult for us psychologically to prepare for our next game against the United States,' he said.

'Even if we win it's going to be complicated.

'We have seen all the World Cup games so far,' he added. 'We have seen the enormous balance there is in every game and we just want to get started.

'I am very calm, it could be because I see my players confident and ready to play.

'I am convinced that my team will play good football and give the fans a good show.

'I have heard that my rivals have said that they will reach the semi-finals and I wish them the best of luck.'

The Azzurri trained for one hour on Sunday evening at the AWD-Arena but Lippi gave away little regarding who will partner Luca Toni in Italy's attack against the Black Stars.

In-form Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alberto Gilardino are fighting for the spot, with Alessandro Del Piero set to be relegated to the bench.