Lippi bemoans All Whites draw

Head coach refuses to critisise Azzurri

Lippi: No luck

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Marcello Lippi believes his Italy side did not have 'any luck' following their shock draw against New Zealand in World Cup Group F.

The world champions suffered an embarrassing 1-1 draw with the underdogs, a result which complicates their chances of progressing to the knockout stage.

New Zealand, who lost all three of their matches on their previous appearance in 1982, took the lead through former Mansfield and AFC Wimbledon striker Shane Smeltz in the seventh minute only for Vincenzo Iaquinta to level through a penalty later in the first half.

Coach Marcello Lippi refused to be critical of his Azzurri side, taking the positives from a largely disappointing display.

Lippi told Rai TV: "We're just sorry we didn't win a match we could have.

"If we didn't win against New Zealand it's our fault. Once again the opponent scored on their first chance. We were able to control the game after that, but this was a match we should have won."

"They weren't as lucid or as enterprising as they should have been," Lippi said of his players.

"Again we were very unfortunate. It's not like we didn't do great things, although you always need to do more."

The 62-year-old refused to blame his attack and started with the same side that drew 1-1 against Paraguay in their opening game.

Pirlo fitness

The Italian will be hoping to call upon veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo if the Milan star recovers from a long-term calf-injury to face Slovakia in the crucial final group match.

"It's not a problem with our attack, but we do have to improve," admitted Lippi.

"I hope he (Pirlo) can give us a hand. He is a great player, but at the moment, he isn't ready."


Meanwhile, midfielder Riccardo Montolivo believes Italy need a change in system if they have ambitions to qualify from the group.

"We tried our best to go on and secure all three points. I don't think that we have a problem with our attack, but more of a problem with the organisation of the team," said the 25-year-old.

Juventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta complemented New Zealand's defence and called it a shame to draw. "We've got to keep our heads up and move on," he said.

Italy's man-of-the-match Daniele De Rossi said his side had to find some improved teamwork to progress further at the World Cup.

"It's not great quality play. It's just a matter of attacking for the 11 players. It's teamwork, there was a great spirit, we had good ball possession, but not enough today," he said.

Italy have not won an international game since beating Sweden 1-0 in a friendly in November, a streak of five games that includes four draws and a 2-1 defeat to Mexico in a World Cup warm-up.

New Zealand will play group leaders Paraguay while the Italians play bottom side Slovakia on Thursday.