Italy enjoying underdog status

ROME - Coach Marcello Lippi is pleased that most analysts don't expect Italy to win the World Cup again.

ROME - Coach Marcello Lippi is pleased that most analysts don't expect Italy to win the World Cup again.

Speaking at the start of a two-day training camp on Tuesday, Lippi says his team is "lucky" that Brazil, England and Spain are being hailed as the pre-tournament favorites.

Lippi added that "Italy is never the favourite for the World Cup. But look at our history. We've won four times and lost once to Brazil on penalties. If we had won that shootout we would have five World Cups now and Brazil would have four." Lippi also pointed to England's single title, and how Spain are yet to win.

The Italy coach also says it is unfair that some teams might prepare for the high elevation in South Africa by using altitude tents, a practice that is banned in Italy.

l Midfielder Simon Rolfes will not play at the World Cup because he has not recovered from knee surgery, the German Football Federation announced yesterday.

The 28-year-old Bayer Leverkusen captain, who has been struggling for fitness since undergoing surgery in January, called Germany coach Joachim Loew to tell him he could not take part in South Africa next month, the federation said. - Sapa-AP and Reuters

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