|Attempts on target||61||11|
|Attempts off target||48||14|
|Attempts against woodwork||2||0|
|B||Armenia||Republic of Ireland|
|D||Luxembourg||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
Cesare Prandelli picked his words very carefully when discussing Italy's must-win game against the Republic of Ireland – and he is convinced a considered approach will be necessary to keep Azzurri hopes alive at UEFA EURO 2012.
Prandelli knows that victory is mandatory against an already eliminated Ireland side, but even then Italy are not assured a quarter-final place. A draw of 2-2 or more between Croatia and Spain in Group C's other deciding match would mean those two sides progressing. A cliche it may be, but Prandelli was keen to emphasise that is side are "solely focused on the result in our game", adding: "I'm sure we have the means at our disposal to go and win it."
With much conjecture surrounding the make-up of Prandelli's starting XI – in terms of personnel and system – the 54-year-old said no matter who and how his side take to the field, they would be prepared. "You don't pluck decisions out of the air," he argued. "You always consider these choices and think about them very clearly. The actual way you play needs to be very flexible."
While he was candid enough to admit this is his "most important game" as a coach, he believes that the philosophy he is engendering within the squad will bring its just deserts. "I think we played very well against Croatia," he said of Italy's 1-1 draw on Thursday. "
You need to go out and earn your luck and you do that by playing expansive football." He may have to do without Mario Balotelli, who has picked up a slight knee problem, in attack, while Andrea Barzagli could return at the back.
After two defeats, Ireland are "playing for the honour of the nation" according to Giovanni Trapattoni. Even though you may not realise it from observing their relentlessly cheerful fans, to say it has been a disappointing campaign for Trapattoni's team would be to put it mildly. Regrets, he has a few, but he added: "Now it's important to have the same mentality as in qualification – start with 100% concentration and avoid goals in the first minutes."
Despite calls for changes ahead of their last UEFA EURO 2012 outing, Trapattoni is sticking with "the same team that got us here out of respect for the players". He is impressed with the job done by Prandelli – whom he used to coach as a player at Juventus – saying: "
He's done a very good job, changed around the personnel and given the squad a sense of professionalism, of respect – he's demonstrated he's very wise."
Prandelli's esteem for Trapattoni – "the boss" – is clear and he is expecting nothing less than a stern test from the 73-year-old's team. "It's a side we need to be wary of – they have a lot of national pride." That said, Prandelli believes his team "have the quality and skill" to prevail; whether it will be enough, not even his measured approach can control.
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