Italy center-back Giorgio Chiellini believes that his side have what it takes to defeat Spain in their Euro 2012 opener on Sunday, 10 June.
The Azzurri’s Euro 2012 preparations have been overshadowed by a domestic match-fixing scandal, which forced Italy boss Cesare Prandelli to omit first-choice left back Domenico Criscito.
To make matters worse for the Italians, defender Andrea Barzagli may be ruled out of Euro 2012, with Cagliari defender Davide Astori on stand-by to replace the Juventus center back.
However, the bad news does not end there for the Azzurri, who suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Russia in an international friendly on 1 June.
The Italians conceded three goals in the final 30 minutes of the match to Zenit St Petersburg duo Alexander Kerzhakov (60′) and Roman Shirokov (75′, 89′), and failed to score despite starting both Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano.
All things considered, many people have written off Italy as legitimate Euro 2012 contenders, but Giorgio Chiellini is not one of them.
“We have great motivation and belief that we can win this game,” he told Uefa.com. “We will not wait in defence for the odd counterattack because that is not in our nature.
“We will try to respect our opponents and try to do what we have been doing over the past two years – play good football.”
The Azzurri are always amongst the most organized teams in the world. As a result, I expect nothing less than an organized Italian side at the 2012 European Championships.
With that said, organization doesn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Prandelli will need to find a way to keep shape, and be threatening on the counter.
Perhaps the Italians will take a Chelsean approach against Spain. It worked for Roberto Di Matteo’s side in the UEFA Champions League. Why not for Italy at Euro 2012?
Well, Spain could be one reason why the Italians don’t pull off a Chelsea-like miracle at this summer’s European Championships.
Giorgio Chiellini is fully aware of the threat posed by the Spanish armada, and rightfully so.
“Spain have proved that even without certain individuals, they are not just playing from memory,” Chiellini continued.
“Even in their recent friendlies they fielded some new players who proved they have as much quality up front [as the usual starters].
“They are a team very much like the one of four years ago that won everything.”
Euro 2012 Betting Odds: Spain v Italy
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