Italy, lucky? You certainly wouldn't call them "lucky" team if you looked at their recent history at the World Cup finals. USA 1994: eliminated on penalties. France '98: eliminated on penalties.
Korea/Japan 2002: eliminated by...well, the Italians would say 'bad officiating,' but a neutral just might call it 'bad luck,' or even, 'a better organized team.' Even this year, the Italians have had
more problems hanging over their camp than just about any team at the finals (England hasn't had it easy either.) Says Italy Coach Marcelo Lippi: "We had Francesco Totti ruled out for three months,
then Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta all got injured." Add to that, media scrutiny (ever-present with the Italian national team), the massive Serie A scandal enveloping
Italian football and affecting most of its players, and the attempted suicide of a former national team player and you can see why Lippi disagrees. Following news of Gianluca Pessotto's suicide
attempt, Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro and Juventus teammate Gianluca Zambrotta flew back to Italy to see him. Italy has not had a normal preparation for its quarterfinal against the Ukraine tomorrow.
However, Francesco Totti, who scored the late penalty against Australia, is expected to return to the starting line-up, but experienced defender Alessandro Nesta has been ruled out through injury.
Read the whole story at BBC Sport »