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The tactician admits that it was difficult to leave out the former Lyon and Palermo star, but his form had left much to be desired...

Juventus defender Fabio Grosso was surprisingly dropped from Italy's provisional World Cup squad on Tuesday, along with team-mate Antonio Candreva, as coach Marcello Lippi looks to fine tune his squad before June 1.

Grosso was a major player for the team in 2006, scoring in the semi-final against Germany before hitting the decisive penalty in the final shootout against France to win the trophy. The 62-year-old explained his decision to the press.

"It was tough for me to call him and say he was cut from the team to go to South Africa, as it was tough to exclude 14 of the 23 that were in Germany. But I had to do it," he revealed in a press conference.

"I told everybody that I won't take someone to South Africa just because I am grateful for winning the World Cup in 2006."

Lippi still must remove five more players before the deadline.

"I will take another 10 days to reflect," he said, not giving any hints as to who else could be watching from home. The most recent reports suggest that Giuseppe Rossi and Fabio Quagliarella are fighting for a single place.

Meanwhile, he believes Italy can only become repeat champions through hard work and team cohesion.

"There are different ways to bridge the gap. There is scepticism towards us against teams such as Brazil, England and Spain. But do you think this gap is filled by calling two or three different players?

"Or do we succeed by building a team that is united, strong and compact, as we have shown on other occassions? There is only one way not to realise a dream - being afraid of not succeeding."

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