Pirlo Italy’s Best Player – Georgia Coach

Georgia coach Hector Cuper has spoken ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Italy, and has identified Andrea Pirlo as the player his side needs to stop.Cuper took charge of Georgia at the beginning of August just days before the country plummeted into a devastating war with neighbours Russia. Although there has now been a ceasefire, the country of Georgia is still somewhat in crisis, and this has also had an effect on footballing matters, as the national team had to play their opening 2010 World Cup qualifier against Ireland, scheduled to be played in Tbilisi, on neutral ground in Germany. Georgia lost the game 2-1, and Cuper has no doubts that the war in Georgia has badly affected his players. "You saw how tense we were in the opening minutes of the game against Ireland,” the ex-Inter and Valencia boss told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “The team came out filled with pride, but with little serenity. The war is in the head of my boys. It is normal. You cannot enter the dressing room and say: ‘Today we think only about football.’ “My national team suffers along with all Georgians. It is not easy to play football within this atmosphere.” This Wednesday, Georgia travel to Udine for their next qualifier against World Champions Italy, and not many people give them much hope of success. “On Wednesday we will try again against Italy,” Cuper continued. “Against Ireland we may have lost, but my team showed that it has an identity. “Of course, Italy are strong and are the favourites. The management made the right choice by bringing back Marcello Lippi, who is one of the best coaches in the world. “But Georgia do not start the game beaten, and indeed we want to return from Udine with a positive result. “The number one danger is Pirlo. He is the soul of the Azzurri team. He invents things whenever he comes into possession of the ball." Italy won their opening qualifier on Saturday night, beating Cyprus 2-1 in Larnaca.


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