Lippi seeks fresh role on global stage for 2014


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The Independent Football

The former Italy coach Marcello Lippi wants to take charge of a team at the 2014 World Cup, but has ruled out returning to club management.

Lippi, who guided the Azzurri to their fourth World Cup triumph in 2006, took the helm again for the 2010 finals in South Africa but the defending champions went out at the group stage without winning a game.

"In life in general, in any kind of work, there are highs and lows, and I was lucky I had a lot of success," Lippi told a sports conference in Doha, Qatar, yesterday. The last one hasn't been a success, South Africa. I took one year off, a mental break. I want to start my work again, but I don't want to go back to a club. I want another experience in a national team, to build a team, a new national team and play another World Cup – Brazil in 2014."

Cesare Prandelli succeeded Lippi as Italy coach and has shrewdly guided them to Euro 2012.

Lippi won five Serie A titles and the Champions League with Juventus in two stints in charge of the Turin club, but is wary of returning for a third time.

"I had chances to go back to Juventus in the last [few] years and it didn't happen," said the 63 year-old. "Now Juventus have a great coach [Antonio Conte], they are beginning a new cycle. I don't think they need me, but the relationship is so nice that if they need me one day I'll be available. I hope that doesn't happen, because that would mean Juventus got bad."

Juve have not won a league title since they were demoted to Serie B in 2006 as part of the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, but are unbeaten this season under Lippi's former Juve player Conte and lie two points behind the Serie A leaders, Udinese, with a game in hand.

In Costa Rica, the coach of the world and European champions Spain, Vicente del Bosque, said his side should not be alarmed at losing to England in a friendly on Saturday but neither should they disregard the 1-0 defeat.

Although the Spanish exerted their customary dominance at Wembley against a depleted and defence-minded England, they were unable to convert long periods of possession into goals and the hosts grabbed the winner when Darren Bent nodded a James Milner free-kick on to a post and Frank Lampard followed up to score.

The defeat was the latest reverse for the Spanish since they lifted their first World Cup in South Africa last year following friendly losses to Argentina, Portugal and Italy.

"We analysed what happened," Del Bosque told a news conference on Monday ahead of Spain's match against Costa Rica in San Jose yesterday. "We had some good possession and practically kept the ball from them," added the former Real Madrid coach. "We did not have necessary finesse playing the final ball but everything else we did pretty well and we therefore shouldn't alarm ourselves, although we should not ignore it either."

Spain's relatively poor run in friendlies contrasts with their perfect record of eight wins in eight in qualifying for Euro 2012, when they will seek to defend their continental crown. They have not lost a competitive game since slipping to a shock 1-0 defeat by Switzerland in their opening match at the 2010 World Cup and will be strong favourites to win a third successive major tournament in Ukraine and Poland next year.

Del Bosque said his squad contained enough depth to allow him to respond to most situations. He opted to play without a traditional target man on Saturday, deploying forward David Villa and playmakers David Silva and Andres Iniesta in attack and leaving powerful strikers Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente on the bench.

"The richness of a team depends on its variants," said Del Bosque who brought on Torres in the second half. "We have various ways of playing depending on which players we pick. The playing concept does not vary but there are alternatives.

"We must not blindly stick to one way of playing, there is not only one system, one scheme. You have to prepare yourself for every situation."

Del Bosque was echoed by the Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who squandered a decent late chance for an equaliser against England on his return to London.

"We have to adapt to everything because this can happen to us," the former Arsenal captain said. "Despite the lack of goals, we controlled the game well and our attitude was good. There is little to criticise about the attitude and the performance but football is like that. Sometimes things happen that you are not expecting. They scored from a free-kick and we lost."

Costa Rica, ranked 62nd in the world, went into yesterday's game having lost 2-0 in a friendly in Panama last week.