ROME - Italy coach Marcello Lippi has wasted no time in launching preparations for next year's World Cup, insisting that anyone can force their way into his plans.
Italy host Cyprus in Parma today in a now meaningless Group 8 qualification tie after the world champions secured their passage to South Africa with a last-gasp 2-2 draw in Dublin on Saturday.
They head the group by four points from Ireland with just one match to play.
And Lippi is already starting to talk about what he might do in June, with AS Roma striker Francesco Totti one name he is constantly asked about.
Totti retired from the international scene after helping Italy to World Cup glory in Germany three years ago but has recently intimated that he would be open to a return to the national team.
"Totti is a great person and a great player," said Lippi before joking that he would pick anyone the press wanted him to. "I'm not ruling out anything, I need to make a technical assessment on the group I have available to me at the moment.
"And I have to see if some of those who aren't here, even those who have never been called up, have the technical characteristics necessary for my team."
One of those names currently in the squad but whose presence is far from a sure thing is Villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi.
The US-born 22-year-old is particularly looking forward to today's game, having spent five years at Parma where he was a junior player before joining Manchester United. - Sapa-AFP