Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his players not to underestimate the Italian side at Euro 2012.
Italy was rocked midweek when a number of top players, including Stefano Mauri and Domenico Criscito, were targeted as part of investigations surrounding the Scommessopoli betting scandal in the Serie A.
Things went from bad to worse for the Azzurri on Friday, when they slumped to a humiliating 3-0 reverse at the hands of Russia.
Trapattoni, however, who coached Italy between 2000 and 2004, is certain that when the two sides meet in Group C on June 18 their current problems will have no bearing on the game.
“It would be a great mistake if you think Italy is this (finished), because we don’t know how they have done in their training camp,” Trapattoni told RTE.
“Be sure when we meet Italy, they will be another team. We can see what the group did, but don’t think this is the violin.”
Criticism of Italy has centred on their defence, which endured a forgettable 90 minutes against Russia, but Trapattoni said the negative talk is a natural part of football.
“It would be the same if we lost the game 3-0. Everybody would criticise us,” he said.
The 73-year-old coach has been in charge of Ireland since 2008, and their campaign in Poland and Ukraine will mark his first major international tournament at the helm of the nation.
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