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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 14, 2007

Toni remains focused on Euro qualification

Italy striker Luca Toni insists the world champions will be fully focused on securing qualification for Euro 2008 in Saturday's showdown with Scotland in Glasgow - despite more turbulence for the Italian game.

Toni, a player who helped the Azzurri win the 2006 World Cup in Germany at a time when Italian football had been rocked by a match-fixing scandal, believes no comparison should be drawn with that situation and the current crisis caused by the fatal shooting by police of a Lazio fan at the weekend.

'There are two very different things (the match-fixing scandal and last weekend's violence),' said Toni. 'We are all disappointed and saddened by what has happened.

'But we don't need controversies to motivate us.'

However, Toni, who joined German giants Bayern Munich from Fiorentina in the summer, admits the national team could have done without another scandal days before they face their biggest game of the year.

'It would have been better to prepare for this crucial game in a different atmosphere,' he said.

'I speak to my national team-mates who play in the Serie A and I know they would prefer to play in a football tournament that is healthier and calmer.

'I am happy to play abroad for many reasons, one of which is that in the Bundesliga we don't see these situations. It's not normal that in Italy these ugly incidents often take place. The truth is Italian football doesn't give a good image.

'But we are nevertheless motivated for Saturday's game, we know what we are playing for.'

A defeat for the world champions at Hampden Park would see them face the prospect of elimination from next summer's finals.

Roberto Donadoni's men are a point behind the Scots but have a game in hand which comes next Wednesday when they host the Faroe Islands while France face a tricky final game in Ukraine on Wednesday.

'We are not nervous,' said Toni, speaking at Coverciano - the national team's training camp in Florence. 'We know that if we lose we are out and we also know that that is the case for Scotland too.

'We know the importance of this game and we are preparing in the best way. We have to play a great game, show our strength and take a positive result back home.

'All of the teams that play against us give everything but we have to remember we are the world champions and we have to prove our worth.'

The former Fiorentina star is set to lead Italy's attack against Scotland.

Much is expected from Toni after the sizzling form he has shown with Bayern so far this season.

Having made the difference the last time both teams met in Bari earlier this year, with his two goals handing Italy a 2-0 triumph in Group B, Toni will be hoping to repeat his heroics.

'I hope I can make the difference,' he said. 'I will do the best I can. But the most important thing is the team work and the result. Whoever goes out on the pitch will give everything on Saturday.'

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