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Victory is all Prandelli's Italy can worry about

Published: Sunday 17 June 2012, 21.45CET
Progress from Group C is out of Italy's hands, but Cesare Prandelli is convinced his side can do their bit against the Republic of Ireland in his "most important game" as a coach.
by Sam Adams
from Municipal Stadium Poznan
Victory is all Prandelli's Italy can worry about
First things, first: Cesare Prandelli's Italy need to beat the Republic of Ireland ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ItalyRepublic of Ireland

Goals scored6
 
1
Total attempts109
 
25
Attempts on target61
 
11
Attempts off target48
 
14
Attempts blocked27
 
3
Attempts against woodwork2
 
0
Corners30
 
8
Offsides16
 
10
Yellow cards16
 
8
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed89
 
51
Fouls suffered97
 
42

Media services

 
Published: Sunday 17 June 2012, 21.45CET

Victory is all Prandelli's Italy can worry about

Progress from Group C is out of Italy's hands, but Cesare Prandelli is convinced his side can do their bit against the Republic of Ireland in his "most important game" as a coach.

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.

You need to go out and earn your luck and you do that by playing expansive football
Cesare Prandelli
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
Giovanni Trapattoni sings Prandelli's praises

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.

Last updated: 24/06/12 13.42CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1730421.html#prandelli

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