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Cannavaro’s tired excuse doesn’t mask Italy’s flaws

| 04.06.2010

“We were tired from the intensive fitness work. It’s not an alibi, but the difference in fitness levels does transform this from a bad result to a good training session.”

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro wasn’t the only member of Italy’s team to blame yesterday’s shock 2-1 loss to an ever-improving Mexico side on fatigue, as even manager Marcello Lippi insisted that his side were tired from intensive fitness work.

Had such a one-sided victory come against an outfit other than Mexico, however, this excuse may have been relevant. Yet Javier Aguirre’s team have worked harder on fitness and played more warm-up matches than any other team taking part in this summer’s World Cup, with yesterday’s contest being their eighth inside a month.

As well as Italy, Mexico have played Holland, England and Chile among others, meaning that if any players should be complaining of fatigue, it should be the men in green.

Yet their unique preparation looks to be paying off, with yesterday’s success their fifth from that eight, with just two narrow losses to both the Dutch and England as their sole setbacks.

Yesterday they not only out-matched their Italian counterparts physically but played the better football, and in this vein of form the Mexicans are a good bet to reach the last 16, at 10/11.

Italy, on the other hand, will be hoping that they can find their groove before they begin their campaign against a Paraguay side who play in a similar manner to the Mexicans, as by June 14th, it’ll be too late for excuses – the reigning champions are 11/2 to cause a shock by crashing out at the group stage.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.