Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Prandelli dreaming of Italy triumph

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli will be dreaming of a ‘wonderful, fantastic evening’ for his side in their Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany.

The Azzurri will enter the last-four encounter in Warsaw as underdogs, with Germany having won their past 15 competitive games.

However, just hours after captain Gianluigi Buffon urged his team-mates and the Italian nation to dare to dream, Prandelli intends to do just that before the game.

“When I close my eyes and dream, I always dream of fantastic things,” the 54-year-old told reporters on Wednesday.

“I will dream about a wonderful, fantastic evening.”

Much has been made of the fact that Germany have had two extra days to prepare for the match in the Polish capital but Prandelli insists that his players cannot allow themselves to be bogged down by such talk.

“We’re all fit both mentally and physically,” he said. “I don’t think we can have any negative thoughts.

“We can’t think we’re even a little bit tired. All the ingredients are there to make sure we feel as we did a few days ago.”

Indeed, Prandelli believes that Italy simply have no choice but to be braced for a high-tempo game, as he expects their opponents to put them under intense pressure right from the start and give them little space in which to work.

“We need to work on how we move around the pitch and free up a key player like (Claudio) Marchisio, (Daniele) De Rossi or (Riccardo) Montolivo,” he said.

“We’re ready to be pressed high up the pitch and know what we have to do to counteract this. They have a very defined style of play and we know what their strengths are.”

Germany are viewed as favourites for the match as they head into this game on the back of four victories in as many matches in Poland and Ukraine, but Prandelli insists that Italy will not take a defensive approach to the game.

“People are saying tomorrow will be an open game but we cannot just sit deep,” he said. “We have worked on this for two years and it would be a shame to waste it and change our playing style.”

Italy have managed just four goals in their four games so far, but Prandelli revealed that he will not be placing any undue pressure on his misfiring forward line.

“I’ll say very little to my strikers,” he said. “But the message will be simple: try to put the ball in the back of the net. We have to keep creating opportunities as that means we’re more likely to score goals.”

Asked his opinion on controversial striker Mario Balotelli, the 54-year-old said that he is seeing improvements in the Manchester City ace’s behaviour.

“I have no real problems with Mario, but it is interesting to figure out what goes on in the head of a 21-year-old young man,” he said.

“In terms of his behaviour and mentality, I have noticed he has changed radically with us.

“The fact he wants to see his brother every day is great. I am very curious to see what sacrifices this young man is prepared to make to become a great footballer.”


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