Donadoni hails enthusiasm
By Nadia Carminati. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Italy coach Roberto Donadoni is confident the world champions will start their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign on a positive note against Lithuania on Saturday.
The Azzurri will play their first competitive fixture since the famous Berlin World Cup final victory over France, and Donadoni believes the side's enthusiasm augers well.
"I see a lot of enthusiasm and if I could, I would want to play as well," said Donadoni, ahead of the clash at Stadio San Paolo in Naples.
"My players have given everything in the training sessions.
"There is a great spirit, and the crowd will help us as well. We need to play well."
Donadoni is expected to deploy a 4-3-3 formation, with Antonio Cassano in attack being supported by Filippo Inzaghi and Marco Marchionni.
The former Livorno coach had initially hoped to be able to call on Francesco Totti for the match, after the Roma playmaker revealed his intention to cut short his international retirement.
However, the Giallorossi star has since claimed he will not be ready for selection until 2007 - a decision that, though, disappointing for the squad, has been backed by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and captain Fabio Cannavaro.
"When Francesco feels himself ready, he will be back," said Buffon.
"His decision must be respected. We are disappointed, but you can understand his choice."
Cannavaro added: "I thought he could have been back before 2007, but Francesco showed his importance to the team at the World Cup and we will wait for him."