UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Draw sufficient for Morace

Italy coach Carolina Morace would be happy with a point against Germany to resurrect her team's Group B hopes.

By Pete Sanderson in Preston

After an opening-day defeat by old foes France, Italy coach Carolina Morace could be forgiven for being a little despondent ahead of Thursday's game against world champions Germany at Deepdale.

Consistent performers
But the philosophical Morace, whose international career yielded an incredible 105 goals in 153 matches before she became national coach, was in typically upbeat mood as her side prepared to take on the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™ favourites. "Germany are one of the best sides in the world and they deserve to be the favourites to win this competition," she said. "They are not like the other teams who have one or two stars. They have eleven players who all play at a very high standard and that kind of consistency can win you tournaments."

'Miracle worker'
The Italians made a disappointing start, losing 3-1 to an impressive French outfit on Monday in a game many thought would decide who would challenge Norway for the second qualification spot in Group B. Nonetheless Morace, who conceded at the post-match press conference that it was "a miracle" that Italy even reached the finals, believes her team can still advance to the semi-finals if they draw against the Germans.

'Magnificent display'
"We will be aiming to get a draw with Germany to give ourselves a chance of making the last four. But this will be incredibly difficult and to even get a point, we know we would have to put on a magnificent display," she said. "Whatever happens, we know it will be a great game. They have a very clear and simple way of playing and we will structure our team in a way which should ensure an exciting 90 minutes of football."

New system
Morace is expected to change her system for Thursday, ditching the 4-3-3 formation for a more defensive 4-1-4-1 lineup. With Chiara Gazzoli out with a head injury, defender Elena Ficarelli is likely to step in, with Sara Di Filippo occupying the position just in front of the back four and Patrizia Panico ploughing a lone furrow up front.

Fresh Prinz
Meanwhile, Germany coach Tina Theune-Meyer is boosted by the news that striker Birgit Prinz, an unused substitute in Monday's 1-0 win against Norway, is fit and raring to play against the Italians. Anxious to keep her cards close to her chest, Theune-Meyer said: "All I can say is that Birgit is fit and can't wait to play. She looked really sharp in training and scored a lot of goals."

Strong attack
The coach added that she would not look too much into Italy's defeat by France after watching the video. "I saw the France-Italy game and saw two evenly-balanced teams in what was a good game," she said. "Italy have a strong side, especially up front where they have players with the talent to cut through any defence. They're a constant danger and I was impressed with them."

Young substitute
Theune-Meyer may include Prinz at the expense of Anja Mittag, with Connie Pohlers and Kerstin Garefrekes sitting just behind. A win would book Germany's place in the last four and leave Italy almost certainly out of the tournament, but even if the Italians are down and out, Morace will still be smiling come Friday morning.

Selected for you