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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 8, 2008

Lippi to make changes following last gasp victory

Italy coach Marcello Lippi revealed he will ring the changes for Wednesday's game against Georgia and is confident they will record a more comfortable victory than they did against Cyprus.

The Azzurri needed an injury-time winner to triumph in their opening World Cup qualifier on Saturday but Lippi is happy with the 2-1 win.

The World Cup-winning coach insists the intense heat was solely to blame for his side's problems in securing the three points and claims it will be different story on home ground against Georgia.

'The problems on Saturday were exclusively related to the physical conditions which weren't the best,' said Lippi.

'I will change a lot against Georgia, and that was already planned. We're not 100% fit and so it's not the best to play every three days. Changes are needed.

'In 60 years of matches I have seen quite a few decided in the 90th minute. But winning remains a good feeling. We will look to win more easily on Wednesday.'

This will be the second World Cup for which the previous winners have qualified automatically, a rule change Lippi approves of.

And the Azzurri boss knows that each game will be a test for his side.

'I believe it's better that the world champions have to go through qualifying for the next tournament unlike in the past, when it was given as a right,' he added. 'Facing games which matter is important to shape a squad.

'It shouldn't be thought that because we are world champions each game should be a walkover.

'Our aim is to qualify for South Africa 2010. We won the first game, even if it was with a bit of luck. We have only just started.'

Italy will be without defenders Alessandro Gamberini and Fabio Grosso after they were injured in the opening 15 minutes on Saturday, and midfielder Gennaro Gattuso who broke his wrist in training the following day.

Lippi has called up Palermo midfielder Antonio Nocerino as a replacement for Gattuso, but has decided not to reinforce his defence.

He said: 'It's useless to call up someone and then to send them into the stands. I already have to send one of those that are here into the stands.'

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