With national pride in the Italy football team restored, Cesare Prandelli is looking for one more big performance from his evolving side as he looks ahead to tonight's final with UEFA.com.
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From day one after being appointed Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli had one mission: earn back the love of the Azzurri fans which cooled after a disappointing FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He wanted to do so by playing positive football and never hiding, holding up tonight's UEFA EURO 2012 final opponents Spain as an example. Regardless of the result in Kyiv, the 54-year-old Italy coach has achieved one objective, the next is to add gloss by lifting the trophy, as he explains below.
UEFA.com: How proud are you of this final, especially after the great performance against Germany?
Cesare Prandelli: I am very proud, because game after game these guys have always looked to play good football, and for a manager that is the main objective. We have managed to give this team a way of playing good football. We have trained hard and with a quality midfield we've improved game after game.
UEFA.com: Since you started as a manager you've insisted on playing good football and being positive. Do you think you have revolutionised this team since you took over?
Prandelli: I don't think I have revolutionised the team. I analysed the characteristics of the players that were available to me, I made some choices, and I am convinced that we have quality players. If you have these kind of players I think you must try to play good football, even though sometimes it's difficult to achieve it because it's demanding. We have great quality players and we have the opportunity to build our play from the goalkeeper.
UEFA.com: Even when the team was not scoring you were patient with Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli. What is so special about them that now they have starting scoring together?
Prandelli: With all strikers, when they start scoring and finishing they start to build confidence and have more initiative. I have always believed in their qualities.
UEFA.com: You have already played against Spain in this tournament. Are you expecting a different kind of game this time? On that occasion you had to make changes during the course of the game ...
Prandelli: Yes, it's going to be a different kind of game. Then we were coming from a particular moment. Now we are playing against the best team in the world probably, because they have a continuity of performances, they have a philosophy of play and a work ethic. We have the desire to face them and to play this game, trying to risk something, but thinking that we can play our way.
UEFA.com: This team seems to have revived national pride in football, with all the city squares full of supporters. You must be happy about that?
Prandelli: That gives me great satisfaction because we wanted to get closer to the people. With the performances that we gave and the generosity we played with, and with a team that never gives up, we've managed to rebuild the enthusiasm around the team.
UEFA.com: What would it mean for you, for the players and for the country to win your first UEFA European Championship since 1968?
Prandelli: At this moment I cannot think about that. I need to stay focused on what we need to do in order to see that dream come true.