Italy coach Marcello Lippi has hailed his World Cup winning team for “showing the world the quality of Italian football” and said the team could go on to further success in years to come.
“They needed to show the world the quality of Italian football and they were capable of doing just that,” he told a news conference in the aftermatch of their penalty shootout victory over France.
“There is a very good set of players and the bulk of them are playing regularly in European club competition – after all they have been through here they need the right amount of rest and recovery, also during the season.
“But my players can go forward for a good few years yet and do well at the European Championships in 2008 while at the same time finding and introducing some good young additions – exactly the kind of work we have done in the past two years,” said Lippi.
The Italy coach said that the team had presented a positive image of Italian football at a time when the Italian domestic game is engulfed in the match-fixing scandal.
“These players have shown that Italian football has values and among those values there is the moral part. They did very well to produce a great image of themselves and of Italian football,” he said.
“The players in this team had nothing to apologise for but…it is exactly right – Italian football can restart itself from this victory,” he added.
Lippi felt that team-spirit and strength in depth had been the key to Italy’s success in Germany.
“It is about putting yourself forward and about helping the others in the group. Inside this group there are some world class players, some top champions and some great players,” he said.
“Now there is a great joy for all of us.”