Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is anticipating a fiery encounter against France in their international friendly in Parma on Wednesday.
The Italians have not won a friendly since beating Poland a little over 12 months ago, and will face Didier Deschamps’ side without influential midfielder Daniele Di Rossi who was dropped following his punch on Stefano Mauri in the Rome derby on Sunday.
But Prandelli is still confident his side can put in a strong performance and snap their four game friendly losing streak against a France side coming off the back of an encouraging 1-1 draw against World Cup holders Spain in October.
“It won’t be a normal match against France, it’s never a normal match against them,” he said.
“We know that very well, having faced them many times in important competitions and in finals too. It’s never a friendly match against France. I only hope we see two teams who want to play football, two teams who are proud to be playing, showing emotion and enthusiasm.
“The result will come from who has the better attitude of the two teams. That’s my opinion on that.”
Despite being a friendly, the game will have a bearing on world rankings and Prandelli has called his players to approach the game with ‘the right attitude’.
“Wednesday’s match is important for me because it counts towards our ranking,” he said.
“The rankings are important for everyone, even if we say it isn’t – and we have lost almost every friendly match recently, so I would like to change this trend a bit.
“The attitude has always been positive, but I would like the team to give something more on the pitch tomorrow. It’s important to realise that these games need to be played with the right attitude, because they’re international matches and because we will be facing a strong opponent, with individual talents and great personalities.”
Speaking on De Rossi, Prandelli was disappointed he would not be in the side but was sure the 29-year-old would learn from the mistake which cost him his place in the squad.
“I’m sorry because he’s an important player for us, I’m sorry because he reacted in a particular moment of tension,” he said.
“He’s surely the first person to be sorry for what happened, I know he apologised with his opponent straight after the match and that’s a great gesture from him. We have no doubts about him, sometimes it happens to lose temper, even if it shouldn’t happen.”
Despite the loss of De Rossi, Prandelli has a host of exciting young talent to pick from, with the form of young forward Stephan El Shaarawy particularly encouraging.
The Italian manager was full of praise of the AC Milan player, describing him as ‘clinical’.
“El Shaarawy is quite well, he’s doing well and he’s been quite consistent. He’s good in attack and defence and he’s quite clinical in front of goal,” he said.
“Most of the young players are putting in good performances, and this means a lot to me.”