Italy players exposed their bare behinds ahead of 2006 World Cup semi-final win against Germany - Lippi

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During a talk with university students on Monday, former Italy manager Marcello Lippi recalled the time he instructed Azzurri players to drop their shorts during a training session amid their 2006 World Cup run.

The incident took place just before the semi-final against Germany, which Italy won 2-0 in extra time.

Lippi had wanted to put off photographers he suspected were spying on his team's drills.

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What did Lippi say?

“The morning of the semi-final with Germany, we were warming up near Dortmund when I saw these flashes of light coming from the trees nearby," he recalled, according to Football Italia. "I suspected some photographers were hiding and trying to get some insider information on our tactics.

“So I told my players about it, asked them to all line up with their backs to the trees and at my command, lean over and pull your shorts down.

“They did it and we all laughed. The fact that no photograph was published suggests there was no photographer, but at least we had fun, an indispensable element for a winning squad. Technical quality alone is not enough if you don’t have harmony within the group.

“The best coach is not the most competent, but the one that can create the best team spirit.”

Italy's 2006 World Cup run

The Azzurri entered the tournament having not won since 1982.

They finished atop Group E before defeating Australia in the round of 16, Ukraine in the quarter-final, Germany in the semi-final and France in the final.

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