PHARAOHS GIVE ITALY the jitters

THE phrase "peace of mind" seems to be all the rage in the Italian national team camp, that one is led to believe the world champions will employ much the same approach against the African champions, Egypt, tomorrow in their second match of the Confederations Cup.

THE phrase "peace of mind" seems to be all the rage in the Italian national team camp, that one is led to believe the world champions will employ much the same approach against the African champions, Egypt, tomorrow in their second match of the Confederations Cup.

Coach Marcello Lippi underplayed the role inspirational words might have played in his team's 3-1 victory over the United States on Monday night.

But both Lippi and man of the match Daniele de Rossi kept going back to this expression as explanation for the comeback they launched to win their first Group B match, after trailing the Americans 1-0 at half time.

"There was tension and nervousness, but we found peace of mind in knowing that not only could we win it - we had to win our first match. Not just because of our tactical skills, but because we had no other option," De Rossi said.

Lippi's focus then moved on to his next opponent - Egypt, whose opening encounter against the feared South Americans sent a clear warning to the rest of Group B that they were by no means the group's pushovers.

The Pharaohs exploits against the mighty Brazilians - who claimed a narrow 4-3 win - took many aback, and Lippi was quick to heap praise on the Africans and their coach Hassan Shehata.

"I really like their coach - the way he handles things and his football acumen," said Lippi.

Whichever way one looks at it, this clash (kick off 8.30pm at Ellis Park) promises to take football fanatics on a journey of either intense enjoyment or intense suffering.

This encounter also has the distinction of being the 100th Confederations Cup match played, since the competitions' inception in 1997.

The Egyptians will have their hands full dealing with Monday's two-goal hero Giuseppe Rossi, captain Andrea Pirlo and Gianluca Zambrotta.

But Shehata's men such as midfielders Mohammed Aboutrika, Mohammed Zidan and Hani Said will also have questions for the Italians, which makes this one hard to call.

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