Del Piero must shine

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Marcello Lippi has warned Alessandro Del Piero that he needs a positive season if he wants to make the World Cup squad.

The Italy boss is fully aware of Del Piero's abilities, having coached the talismanic forward at Juventus.

But Del Piero has yet to establish himself as a regular under Lippi for the Azzurri and he has been told he must deliver the goods in Serie A next term.

"The next league will be decisive for Del Piero and I must say for all the other players," Lippi told Corriere dello Sport.

"I know him very well.

"I preferred to discover who I didn't know. Now it's their job to earn their place and the league will be the most important trial for them."

Italy currently sit atop Group Five in qualifying and Lippi is hoping to secure a place in Germany as quickly as possible.

He added: "We must obtain qualification, especially in September with the two away matches in Scotland and Belarus."

Before the qualifiers, Italy play a friendly against Republic of Ireland in August and Lippi confirmed the time for experimentation has passed.

Lippi continued: "I'll do calculations after the qualification, hoping it will arrive soon.

"In the first year with the national team, I did experiments. I've opened the group and now I'll have to make choices.

"Anyway from August 17 in Dublin, I'll start with the team I have in my mind, hoping there won't be any absentees."