Cesare Prandelli said he’ll wait “until the last minute” for Andrea Barzagli to recover and will use an adaptable system against Spain with Daniele De Rossi in defence.
Italy landed in Poland today and are holding their first training session this evening, but first the Coach held a brief press conference.
“The plan with Barzagli is to get him recovered for the tournament. We’ll try to do that until the last minute,” said Prandelli.
“He’ll definitely miss the first match, but he is an important player, so we’ll wait for him as long as we can.”
The Juventus defender picked up a suspected calf strain in training and could be out for as much as three weeks, so a replacement might have to be called in.
“It’s true that Davide Astori is on stand-by should he be needed to replace Barzagli. It’s not Andrea Ranocchia because he picked up an injury during his last training session for Parma, so wouldn’t be available anyway.
“All the players in the squad have to feel ready, because unexpected things can happen, just as with Barzagli. We’ve got to be prepared and are trying to get every player in good condition. Mario Balotelli and Christian Maggio have a muscular problem, but it’s nothing serious.
“This team wants to get on the field to prove it has quality and the right determination to be a protagonist at the Euros. This is the spirit we have now. We analysed the tactical situations and I found yet again a group ready to be honest and take responsibility.”
Prandelli hinted again he would switch to the 3-5-2 system against Spain on Sunday, but reiterated it would not be quite so simple.
“We ran into difficulties and it would be silly not to try different options. Many players have been using a three-man defence in recent months. Even De Rossi came back to sit between the two centre-backs at Roma.
“At this moment I have no doubts on my line-up. Nobody thought we’d reach Euro 2012 in these conditions. Along the way we suffered injuries and performances that were below expectations.
“We have tried to understand if we can still be protagonists in this competition and at this moment I say we’ll see a team capable of changing its tactical system often during the same game. We can do some important things with our tactics.”
It is believed this means a 3-5-2 with Maggio and Federico Balzaretti coming back to act as full-backs when needed, while versatile figures like De Rossi can move around the pitch.
“Facing Spain in the opener allows us to have a lot of focus on the match, but there is also the negative aspect of having to play the reigning world and European champions.
“The enthusiasm is extraordinary and I have no particular objective other than to field a side that stays united from the first to the 90th minute against every opponent.
“We trained in a calm and committed manner. Injuries and other difficulties have forced us to reflect on some things, but we were already considering them beforehand.
“There was some important data to learn from in the defeat to Russia too. We must find the certainties that characterised this squad. We want to play football.”