Former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi has delivered a rousing speech on the Azzurri's World Cup so far, claiming Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli would have been useless to the cause.
The Azzurri are staring into the barrel of failure heading into Thursday's Slovakia clash. It's a must win game for Marcello Lippi's men.
And while many have continued, and will continue, to question the coach's choices, Sacchi has offered his view on the Cassano and Balotelli exclusions as he spreads the burden.
"Many have asked why Cassano and Balotelli were not called, but can we really think these two players, one who plays little, and the other never decisive, can help transform a switched-off team?" Sacchi asked La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"If it was about quality then it would be unthinkable to suggest that part-timers New Zealand had more than us.
"But let's not demoralise ourselves. The quality is good and I think the team will shine once it rediscovers the old furore."
Sacchi believes Italy's stationary position in the group is because the psychological handbrake is still engaged.
"The team appears to be backwards in terms of condition, players out of form, others are old, and some have no motivation - this last reason is worrying," he concluded.
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