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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Italian media urge Lippi to phase out old guard

The Italian media urged coach Marcello Lippi on Monday to reconsider his policy of basing his side on players from the 2006 World Cup-winning squad following the humiliating exit from the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

The world champions went out in the group stage on Sunday when Brazil outclassed them 3-0, three days after suffering their first-ever loss to Egypt.

Lippi's team, featuring eight World Cup winners in both the defeats, lacked ideas and looked fragile in defence, sparking alarm about their chances of defending the title next year.

"The hope is that this lesson serves (to spur) Lippi to return to South Africa in a year's time with another team," wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport in an article headlined "Floored".

"There is time to rebuild a team capable of defending the world title. It is necessary to accelerate the introduction of some youngsters, even though not all of the World Cup winners should retire."

Lippi anticipated calls for revamping the team, saying immediately after the elimination that it was necessary to gradually bring in younger players.

However, Italy 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon said he did not see many youngsters in Serie A who could do better than the old guard. Some argued not all of the alternatives to the 2006 squad were baby-faced.

"There is a great movement that offers dozens of players, young and old," wrote Mario Sconcerti in Corriere della Sera. "The important thing is that they are assessed without prejudice."

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