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Alessandro del Piero has stunned Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni by refusing to play behind the front two in place of injured No 10 Francesco Totti.

"I am a forward and Trap knows that very well," he said. "I have a lot of dreams for the World Cup and nobody can destroy them.

"If Trap asks me to play there before the first match of the World Cup, I will think about it, but for now I know I am in the right. I have played in the same position all season and I want to stay there."

Trapattoni had been hoping for a quiet build-up to the World Cup, but after forcing a showdown with the press over his controversial decision to omit Roberto Baggio, he now has Del Piero causing trouble.

The coach is without Totti for the clash against the Czech Republic and hoped to rest Atalanta playmaker Cristiano Doni, who has a muscle problem.

But he naturally wanted to persevere with the same tactical system, hence his idea to drop Del Piero into a deeper role behind Christian Vieri and Pippo Inzaghi.

The fiery striker refused a similar request from Juve coach Marcello Lippi during his side's Scudetto-winning campaign.
 
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