Italy coach Marcello Lippi has been praised following his team’s victory over Moldova 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier.
The victory, which comes after Saturday’s 2-1 win against, lifted Italy to the top of Group Five.
Lippi, who replaced Giovanni Trapattoni after Euro 2004, has been enjoying a honeymoon period since taking control of the national side and last night’s win has further cemented his reputation.
“Lippi is handling this transitional phase wisely. The blast of innovation in Palermo was offset by yesterday evening’s more traditional team selection,” wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Having made match-winning subsitutions against Norway, this time the coach was able to enjoy the way his Del Piero bet paid off… This new Italy has already started to look like the real thing,” said Corriere dello Sport.
Del Piero’s first international goal for more than a year, earned the points for Italy, but his effort should not guarantee the Juventus striker a place in the starting line-up, claimed La Gazzetta.
“Untouchables no longer exist. The number of players competing for selection has increased,” the paper said.
“It’s a year and a half too soon to think about the Italy team of the next World Cup,” the paper added.
“Successful sides come together in the last month (before an international tournament) — the result of courageous and realistic choices…
“That was something that Trapattoni never grasped.”