Italy could use Confederations Cup to blend young players

Society Materials 22 November 2008 21:25 (UTC +04:00)

World champions Italy could use next year's Confederations Cup to give young players a chance to gain experience, their assistant coach said Saturday, dpa reported.

Narciso Pezzotti, who was addressing the press conference in place of Marcello Lippi who had not travelled to South Africa for the draw, said that they held the Confederations Cup in high esteem.

"However, we are looking towards the 2010 World Cup and the Confederations Cup will be an ideal opportunity to use some of the younger players and give them exposure ahead of the World Cup," he said.

Italy was placed into Group B with Brazil, US and Egypt at Saturday's draw for the June 14-28, 2009 Confederations Cup, while the hosts South Africa will face Iraq, Spain and New Zealand.

US coach Bob Bradley said that his side was facing a tiring schedule ahead of the Confederations Cup. "We will be playing in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers.

"But we had a great time in South Africa last year when we came to the country for the Mandela Challenge and we certainly look forward to the World Cup."

The Egyptian coach Hassan Ali Shehata said that even though his side was in a difficult group, he was confident that they could do well.

"Although we have many players in Europe and will be playing in World Cup qualifiers before the Confederations Cup, I am sure that will not count against us.

"We will have the whole squad together and then they will simply come to the Confederations Cup," he said.

The fourth team in the group, Brazil, was not represented at the press conference and a FIFA spokesman said he did not know why the defending champions were not present.