Lippi delight for Toni
By Simon Fudge & Nadia Carminati
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Italy coach Marcello Lippi was delighted to see Luca Toni finally find the scoresheet.
Italy coach Marcello Lippi was delighted to see Luca Toni finally find the scoresheet in the World Cup finals.
The Fiorentina striker came to Germany 2006 off of a record-breaking goalscoring campaign in Serie A last term.
The former Palermo man, however, had so far struggled to find the back of the net in the finals, but he ended his drought with a second-half brace in Friday's 3-0 quarter final win over Ukraine in Hamburg.
Toni's goals came after Gianluca Zambrotta gave the Azzurri an early lead, as Italy cruised to an easy victory and a clash with hosts Germany in the semi-finals.
Lippi was pleased with the performance and conceded that his side face a difficult task against the Germans in Dortmund next Tuesday.
"I'm really happy and really proud of what the players did today, I'm especially happy for Toni," Lippi said.
"It was really strange that he did not score before tonight (in these finals). Now we have to look towards the next match.
"Naturally, it will be difficult, but it will be difficult for Germany too."
Man of the Match Zambrottam, meanwhile, dedicated his first-half goal to former Juventus team-mate Gianluca Pessotto.
Pessotto was hospitalised after falling from a building this week an apparent suicide attempt.
"I want to dedicate my goal to Gianluca Pessotto, our big friend, who is living a really difficult moment and we hope he can overcome this," Zambrotta said.
"We are satisfied for the qualification to the semi-final. It has been a difficult match, but we played it in a fantastic way.
"The defending is a merit of the whole team. We have achieved a really important result. "Let's hope we are able to continue in this way."
Fellow goalscorer Toni was pleased with his contribution in helping Italy reach the semi-finals.
"The most important thing was overcoming the round," Toni said. "We played a really great match and I'm happy for my double.
"I lifted off myself a big weight. It's fantastic. It has been important having Marcello Lippi's faith - I must thank him and I owe him a lot.
"I've got many critics in this period, but I've continued working to be ready when the coach asked me to play and I'm really happy.
"Scoring at the World Cup is something special because I don't know if I'll have another similar possibility.
"I wanted to score and I did and it's really a big satisfaction."