PARMA, Italy (AFP) - Italy coach Marcello Lippi said the work begins now for the team's defence of their title after finishing their World Cup qualification campaign with an unimpressive 3-2 win over Cyprus.
Italy finished Group Eight undefeated after Alberto Gilardino scored a hat-trick in the last 12 minutes to turn around a 2-0 deficit into an unlikely victory.
It means the world champions will set off on the long preparation journey ahead of June's trip to South Africa in buoyant mood.
But after changing all 11 players from those who clinched qualification -- thanks to a last minute equaliser from substitute Gilardino -- with a 2-2 draw in Dublin on Saturday, Lippi said there was nothing to be learned from this game.
"I dont care about the result, if I had I wouldn't have changed 11 players," he said.
"I'm not disappointed, I will evaluate this match. We have six or seven months to work and we started tonight.
"I can't make a technical assessment because we changed 11 players, we knew we would have problems but I wanted to change things around because I wanted these players to experience the atmosphere.
"Cyprus dominated and they played well but they lost and that's the reality. We can't get anything out of this game but the door is still open for anyone (to make the World Cup squad)."
Despite the thrilling nature of Italy's victory they were poor for most of the game, certainly up until the last 12 minutes, and they were booed off at half-time.
Some fans also shouted at players to work harder, something which enraged Lippi.
"I'm fuming, I've already said it on the pitch, some of those fans forgot this team is world champions," he said.
"That means we went to the World Cup and finished ahead of everyone else.
"We've qualified for the next tournament after a great match (against Ireland) and now we will go and defend our title.
"We celebrated after that match and I promised the players I would make changes and we changed 11 players, something which I've never done before.
"We knew we could have some problems as this is a team that on Saturday scored four against Bulgaria.
"And for those people who during the game told us to go to work, they should be ashamed because we're the world champions.
"What angers me is the lack of respect for these incredible players who play with great heart and who despite the problems went on to win.
"To those who said go to work, I say you go to work."
|A. Gilardino||78' 80' 90+2'|
|Coach: M. Lippi|
for G. Rossi 46'
for S. Pepe 46'
for G. D'Agostino 66'
|Hull and Panathinaikos among four clubs pay FFP fines|
|Liverpool v Manchester City: Champions eye long-awaited Anfield success|
|Lucas Moura out for at least four weeks|
|Chelsea v Tottenham: Mourinho´s men channel spirit of 2005|
|Loan move to Ipswich an easy decision for Wood|
|Qatar World Cup final no later than December 18 - Blatter|
|Martinez excited by Kiev draw|
|Dynamo face disciplinary hearing after crowd trouble|
|Hughes close on signing new Stoke deal|
|Parma will not play Genoa, says Lucarelli|
|De Boer to stay at Ajax|
|Arnesen backs Vieira as potential future City director of football|
|Mourinho has no fears over Wembley referee|
|Van Persie absent for Sunderland clash|
|Mason hoping to relive 2008 at League Cup final|
|Fiorentina and Roma to meet in Europa League|
|Inter finalise Felipe swoop|
|Poyet delighted to have ´contagious´ Cattermole back|
|Melbourne City 3 Adelaide United 1: Baharudin triggers crucial comeback|
|Chelsea can cope with Matic absence - Terry|
|Mancini: I tried to take Guarin to Galatasaray|
|Wilshere undergoes ankle procedure|
|Bruce: Most Championship clubs would struggle with FFP|
|Henry would say yes to Arsenal job|
|Mignolet backs ´devastated´ Liverpool to regroup|
|Tiote looks set to miss the rest of the season|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Osvaldo scores for Boca, Internacional win|
|Alajuelense 5 DC United 2: Costa Ricans set for semis|
|Besiktas settled score with Liverpool - Cenk|
|Montella: Hard to keep Salah|
|Martinez salutes Everton´s qualification|
|Europa League games marred by crowd trouble|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Lovren misses crucial spot kick as Liverpool crash out|
|Rodgers rues lack of Liverpool guile|
|Pochettino laments ´key´ Soldado miss|
|Everton 3 Young Boys 1 (7-2 agg): Tormentor-in-chief Lukaku on song again|
|Serie A games to start late in show of support for Parma|
|Mancini irked by mistakes despite win|
|Besiktas 1 Liverpool 0 (aet, 1-1 agg, 5-4 pens): Lovren misses decisive spot-kick|
|Chelsea agree record sponsorship deal|
|Fiorentina 2 Tottenham 0 (3-1 agg): Gomez and Salah eliminate Spurs|
|Inter 1 Celtic 0 (4-3 agg): Guarin stunner sees Mancini´s men through|
|Manchester United v Sunderland: Poyet eyeing another Old Trafford upset|
|Monk has no problem with Van Gaal|
|Borussia Dortmund v Schalke: Di Matteo buzzing ahead of derby debut|
|Poyet not prepared to risk returning duo against United|
|Sherwood seeks six wins for survival|
|Championship Preview: Neil relishing East Anglian derby|
|Newcastle United v Aston Villa: Carver praises rejuvenated visitors|
|Granada v Barcelona: Catalan giants aiming to put pressure back on Real|
|Burnley v Swansea City: Monk targets 40 points in record time|
|Stoke City v Hull City: Meyler focused on maintaining resurgence|
|West Brom v Southampton: Pulis warns of continued dogfight|
|Police identify Chelsea fans over racist chanting|
|Guardiola warns against complacency|
|West Ham v Crystal Palace: Allardyce wary of being caught on counter|
|Parma GM compares club to the Titanic|
|Alderweireld close to Southampton return|
|Dyche keen to move on from Barnes furore|
|Gutierrez in Newcastle squad for Villa clash|
|Union chief urges action over Serbia gun threat|
|Berahino doubtful for Southampton clash|
|German citizenship? Why not? - Ribery|
|League Two Preview: Bury hope winning environment rubs off, Burton host Newport|
|Klopp hoping to avoid any nasty surprises after bomb discovery|
|Blackett pens new United deal|
|Sakho to return to training|
|Flores quits Getafe for personal reasons|
|Busquets agrees new Barcelona deal|
|Martino ´could not be happy´ at Barcelona|
|Allardyce striving to develop more Nobles|
|Nani hopeful of United return|
|Unexploded bomb found near Dortmund stadium|
|Lippi leaves Evergrande for personal reasons|
|Chelsea issue cup final warning to fans|
|Ancelotti has no intention to re-sign Morata|
|Dunkin´ Donuts sorry after Liverpool fans slam alternate club crest|
|Noble signs new West Ham contract|
|Sterling hopeful of contract resolution|
|Ali renews UAE contract|
|Deportivo Saprissa 0 America 3: Visitors win with late blitz|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Pato´s streak continues|
|Chievo v Milan: Abbiati wants consistency from Inzaghi´s men|
|Valverde wants momentum ahead of ´crucial´ week|
|Deila challenges Van Dijk, Denayer|
|Serie A Preview: Roma in crucial clash with Juve, resurgent Inter at home|
|Prince Albert: I feel for Wenger|
|Jardim salutes Monaco´s game plan|
|Schmidt dreaming of UEFA Champions League quarter finals|
|Arsenal face ´extremely difficult´ challenge - Wenger|
|Simeone rues missed Atletico opportunities|
|Berbatov questions Arsenal mentality|
|Calhanoglu confident Leverkusen can progress|
|Nottingham Forest 2 Bournemouth 1: Freedman´s dream start continues|
|Gabi upbeat despite Leverkusen defeat|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Monaco host PSG, Lille look to arrest slump|
|Arsenal 1 Monaco 3: All to do for Wenger´s men after limp first-leg display|
|Bayer Leverkusen 1 Atletico Madrid 0: Calhanoglu gives hosts narrow advantage|
|AFC Champions League Review: Western Sydney off to winning start|
|Piszczek blow for Dortmund|
|Bayern Munich v Cologne: Lewandowski wants more of the same from champions|
|Totti: Feyenoord win can be turning point|
|Icardi can be one of world´s best - Mancini|
|Crowe could ride to Leeds´ rescue|
|Martinez to keep faith with Howard|
|O´Brien fined for dissent in UAE victory|
|La Liga Preview: Messi aims to bounce back from penalty miss, leaders Real host Villarreal|
|Eredivisie Preview: Last chance saloon for De Boer´s Ajax|
|Amnesty International: Qatar must improve labour conditions|
|Greek professional football suspended|
|Liverpool trio out of Besiktas clash|
|Bundesliga Preview: Dortmund set for Ruhr derby, Bayern host Cologne|
|Rami to miss Chievo clash|
|Genoa game will go ahead, says Manenti|
|Neymar involved in spat with City fan|
|Steaua receive stadium ban from UEFA|
|Giaccherini out for majority of season|
|Brighton fined £90,000 for breach of agent rules|
|Chelsea try to identify seven over alleged racist chanting|
|No compensation for clubs over 2022 World Cup|
|Suarez: City fans´ boos helped inspire double|
|Not the right time for Gutierrez yet, says Carver|
|Naismith happy to be in the wars|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Pachuca reel in Montreal|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Another Bou hat-trick sees Racing win|
|A-League Preview: Sydney wary of Wanderers ahead of derby|
|Qatar 2022 date change strengthens calls for FIFA overhaul|
|Pellegrini: Champions League tie not over|
|Bresciano calls time on Australia career|
|Barcelona defend Messi´s penalty miss|
|Football League Review: Derby stay two points clear, Middlesbrough bounce back|