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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 15, 2007

Italy planning to dedicate qualification to Lazio fan

If Italy qualify for the Euro 2008 finals by claiming at least a draw in Scotland, the players will dedicate the achievement to the family of Gabriele Sandri - the Lazio fan who was killed on Sunday.

The match will be played six days after Sandri was shot and killed by a police officer at a motorway service station near Arezzo.

At the Italians' national team base Coverciano on Thursday, where the Azzurri met with the media for the final time before leaving for Glasgow, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said: 'I would be lying if I said that this situation has not affected us.

'We wouldn't be human otherwise.

'But a couple of days have passed since the incident and although we will not forget what has happened, we are focused on this weekend's game.

'If we are able to get a good result in Scotland and qualify, we would dedicate it to the family of the victim. It would be the best present we could give them.'

The world champions go into the encounter at Hampden Park third in Group B, two points behind leaders France and trailing Scotland by one point.

However, the Azzurri have a game in hand as they end their qualifying campaign by taking on the Faroe Islands in Modena next Wednesday.

'If I'm honest, I would settle for a point in Scotland because that means qualification for us,' Buffon said.

A draw on Saturday would only suit Scotland if France were to lose in Ukraine next Wednesday.

'We know that if we want to go to Euro 2008 we will have to battle,' Buffon said.

'It's thanks to our fighting spirit that we are world champions.

'This has been the reason behind our success.'

The Azzurri have not lost in their last eight qualifiers.

'I think our coach Roberto Donadoni and the team has done a great job so far,' Buffon said.

'We have worked with our feet firmly in the ground, not influenced by the fact that we are world champions.

'The icing on the cake would be to get a positive result in Scotland.

'But not to qualify, for us players, would be a big blow.

'We really want to play at Euro 2008 and have a starring role in this tournament as in 2004 we had a disappointing performance.'

At that tournament in Portugal, Italy did not progress from the group with the enduring image of their participation a spitting incident which ended up with a lengthy ban for Francesco Totti.

Juventus keeper Buffon says the first game - a 2-0 Italy win - taught the Azzurri a lot about the Scots.

'In our opening game against them, Scotland already showed their strength,' Buffon said.

'They are physical and that is their biggest weapon.

'But they have good players, especially in attack, like Kenny Miller and James McFadden and we will have to keep a close eye on them. They both have very good technical skills.'

Donadoni is set to field a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Buffon in goal.

The Azzurri welcome back captain Fabio Cannavaro, who missed last month's qualifier against Georgia through suspension.

Cannavaro will play alongside Palermo's Andrea Barzagli in central defence.

Lyon's Fabio Grosso could beat Gianluca Zambrotta for the left-back position while Roma veteran Christian Panucci will slot in at right-back.

AC Milan trio Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini will form the Azzurri's midfield unit.

Up front, in-form Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale and Juventus' Mauro Camoranesi will play in support of Bayern Munich frontman Luca Toni.

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