Euro 2008: Italy concludes qualifying against Faeroe Islands

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is already contemplating a showdown with archrival France.

Updated: November 22, 2007 14:55 IST
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Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is already contemplating a showdown with archrival France ahead of his team's final European championship qualifier against the Faeroe Islands on Wednesday.

"I want to beat them again," Gattuso said.

Italy beat France on penalties to win last year's World Cup, but has not been able to overcome Les Bleus since, losing 3-1 in Paris and drawing 0-0 in Milan in qualifying for Euro 2008.

Both teams earned berths at next year's tournament after Italy edged Scotland 2-1 in Glasgow on Saturday. Scotland needed at least a draw to have a chance of progressing.

"It annoys me that France advanced with us," Gattuso said. "Scotland deserved it more."

The only significance of Wednesday's game against the winless Faeroe Islands is whether Italy will finish top of Group B. Italy has 26 points, one more than France, which visits Ukraine, also on Wednesday.

But Italy coach Roberto Donadoni cautioned against underestimating the Faeroese part-timers, who scored a late goal in the 2-1 loss to the Azzurri in June.

"We have to show we are a serious team once again," Donadoni said. "We must respect the opponents and the public."

The 44-year-old Donadoni is also winning respect at last, almost 18 months after replacing Marcello Lippi as coach following the World Cup.

"It wasn't easy arriving after Lippi," midfielder Andrea Pirlo said. "But Donadoni has grown so much. He has backed players like (defender Andrea) Barzagli, who has proven himself to be very strong, and (forward Antonio) Di Natale, who wasn't known by everybody and who has been decisive."

After facing the prospect of losing his job had Italy not qualified for Euro 2008, Donadoni could now stay on as coach beyond the tournament.

"I'm not thinking about renewing my contract for now but I would be a liar if I said it wouldn't please me if (Italian soccer federation) President (Giancarlo) Abete offered me an extension," Donadoni said.

Donadoni will rotate his squad for the game at Modena's Stadio Braglia to look at different combinations, possibly recalling defenders Massimo Oddo and Fabio Grosso and giving a debut to 23-year-old striker Raffaele Palladino.

"I will take account of who cannot play two straight games and who has played a bit less in these games," Donadoni said.

"We will also change the formation. There are four or five (positions) to decide. By now, the guys know my logic. It is also a question of keeping the motivation high."

However, the coach has already decided on the group he will take to next year's tournament in Austria and Switzerland, with one or two exceptions, including strikers Antonio Cassano and Alessandro Del Piero.

"It will depend on them," Donadoni said. "My misfortune, so to speak, is having so many good players at my disposal."

The Faeroe Islands welcomed back midfielder Suni Olsen and defender Frodi Benjaminsen, who missed the 5-0 drubbing by Ukraine last month because of suspension and personal reasons respectively.

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