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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 14:43, May 16, 2006
Lippi unveils 23-man World Cup squad
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Italy coach Marcello Lippi Monday unveiled a 23-man squad for next month's World Cup in Germany.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was included despite being named in a betting probe - a sidebar to a Juve-linked match-fixing probe that has rocked Italian soccer.

"Buffon's sunny personality won't be affected. His conscience is clear," Lippi said.

Buffon has voiced confidence of being cleared after meeting prosecutors and stressing he bet abroad on non-Juve matches before a betting ban came into force.

Despite the unprecedented match-fixing allegations, Lippi said he is "happy" to be Italy's coach right now.

Italy's World Cup performances should not be linked to what is happening in Serie A, he said.

Lippi denied suggestions he had been pressured by the ex-Juve exec at the center of the probe, Luciano Moggi.

"I got phone calls from all club managers but never regarded them as pressuring me," said Lippi, whose son works for Moggi's son in Italy's largest player agency GEA.

It has been suggested that GEA - itself probed for breaking competition rules and threatening players - might have influenced national squad selection.

"I have never thought about quitting," Lippi added, "I'm leaving for the World Cup with no worries".

In other selections, Udinese striker Vincenzo Iaquinta got the sixth strikers' berth with Livorno veteran Cristiano Lucarelli missing out again.

Veteran AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi got the nod on the strength of recent goalscoring feats, replacing injured Monaco striker Christian Vieri.

Roma star Francesco Totti won a place after reassuring Lippi he is regaining match fitness after a leg injury.

At the World Cup, three-time champions Italy will face Ghana, the United States and the Czech Republic in Group E.

Italy starts its campaign against Ghana on June 12, before taking on the United States five days later. Its third group match is against the Czech Republic on June 22.

Italy has two pre-World Cup friendlies: against Switzerland on May 31 and against Ukraine on June 2.

Here is the squad (clubs in parentheses):

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio), Marco Amelia (Livorno). Reserve: Morgan De Sanctis (Udinese).

Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Fabio Grosso (Palermo), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Marco Materazzi (Inter), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Massimo Oddo (Lazio), Cristian Zaccardo (Palermo), Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus). Reserve: Daniele Bonera (Parma).

Midfielders: Simone Barone (Palermo), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Francesco Totti (Roma). Reserve: Franco Semioli (Chievo)

Strikers: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Alberto Gilardino (AC Milan), Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese), Luca Toni (Fiorentina). Reserve: Marco Marchionni (Parma)

Source: Xinhua


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