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Oct 10, 2009

Lippi going all out for win

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has warned the Republic of Ireland that his reigning world champions will go on the attack in Dublin as they look to secure automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup finals.

The Azzurri need to pick up just a single point at Croke Park on Saturday night to clinch top spot in Group 8 to leave the Republic scrapping it out for a play-offs place, but Lippi is determined to leave nothing to chance, and will target all three points.

Speaking at Clontarf Castle, the Italian said: "I can't predict the future, but it will obviously be a difficult match. Ireland will try to beat Italy, not only for their own personal satisfaction, but to actually try to top the group.

"Italy will obviously try to beat Ireland because it means automatic qualification for us. Contrary to what most people think, when an Italian team goes abroad to play a match, they never play for a draw. We always play to win and that's what we will be trying to do.

"With all due respect to the Irish team and their quality, we will be playing for a win."

The game will see Lippi go head to head for the second time with one of his predecessors, Giovanni Trapattoni, with the 70-year-old having claimed a moral victory when the two sides met in Bari in April.

That night, Robbie Keane's late equaliser cancelled out Vincenzo Iaquinta's first-half strike minutes after the home side had had Giampaolo Pazzini harshly sent off.

Lippi said: "Ireland will certainly do their best to win the game, but this time we will expect to play 11 against 11 and not 10 against 11 like last time."

But for all the Italians are confident of finishing the job in Dublin, their manager has respect for Trapattoni and his players, several of whom are far from household names on the Continent.

Lippi said: "Ireland is a strong team. I wouldn't identify any particular dangerous players, but they have a great goalkeeper and some really physically strong defenders who are good from set-pieces as well.

"They have a good midfield with [Glenn] Whelan and [Keith] Andrews, and the two wingers. And in [Kevin] Doyle and [Robbie] Keane up front, they have great players - but so do we."

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