Italian coach Marcello Lippi has said that his country's strong group identity would play a bigger role than individual talent as the Azzurri attempt to retain their title at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

"We are going to try (to win) even if we know that it will be difficult to pull it off," Lippi said during a meeting with students in the northern Italian city of Vicenza.

Confirmation of the fact that the group is fundamental, is that a player such as (Sweden's Zlatan) Ibrahimovic will not be at the World Cup while (Argentina's Leo) Messi, who will probably be crowned world player of the year, and Cristiano Ronaldo only just qualified with their countries.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi

"Italy is a team comprising great players across the board, from the world's best goalkeeper (Gianluigi) Buffon onwards. We hope to arrive (for the World Cup finals) in good condition with all the players at their physical peak," the coach added. "Our strong point will once again be the group. That has been my secret ever since I began coaching in Serie C," said Lippi, adding there was evidence that individual stars were not enough.

"Confirmation of the fact that the group is fundamental, is that a player such as (Sweden's Zlatan) Ibrahimovic will not be at the World Cup while (Argentina's Leo) Messi, who will probably be crowned world player of the year, and Cristiano Ronaldo only just qualified with their countries."