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Prior to Italy’s final Group F match scheduled for Thursday June 24th, Italian manager Marcello Lippi spoke to the press.

Ahead of this decisive Group F clash with Slovakia Lippi told reporters, “We must improve in attack”, and “We don’t want this to be our last game.”

All four teams from Group F are still in it with Paraguay leading the pack on four points, while Italy and New Zealand follow with two and Slovakia with one point.

It’s been confirmed Italian playmaker and set-piece magician Andrea Pirlo will not make a return to the starting lineup against Slovakia.
Pirlo has been recovering from a calf injury suffered in a pre-tournament friendly with Mexico. The AC Milan midfielder will however start from the bench and could be called upon later for a short trot on the pitch if and when the team is deemed dire need of his brilliance.

After the last disgrace of a performance against the Kiwis, I was asked by someone else what Lippi and Italy need to do?

My answer was improve on attack, the same words the Italian manager used today,

“We above all must improve in attack. Since coming to South Africa we have worked on building attacks and the need to get our shots away.”

My analysis offered a trident answer of Pazzini, Di Natale, and Quagliarella upfront.  Replacing Gilardino (the invisible man) with Pazzini is first and foremost. Second, bring Christian Maggio into the starting XI at the back. Third, make use of possession better with attack the focus, Italy needs goals.

I’m happy to say Lippi is coming around to a more attacking formation after switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 formation for Italy’s second group match and now testing out a 4-3-3 system in training for the third match.

A final note, English referee Howard Webb will officiate this crunch match with Slovakia, having recently overseen Inter Milan’s 2010 Champions League win.
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