Antonio Di Natale thought he had scored against Ireland, but reveals the advice he gave to Mario Balotelli.
“I thought my shot was in, but the defender did well to perform the goalline clearance. I saw that I’d hit it well and went round the goalkeeper, so that was a shame,” said the striker.
It was a 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland thanks to goals from Antonio Cassano and Balotelli, even though Di Natale had his first start of the tournament.
“There are many good strikers here and together we must all try to help the Nazionale when we are needed.
“Antonio is easy to play with, as he brings the ball to you and provides good assists. I’m glad he and Mario scored, as they needed a goal.
“Mario has a lot of quality, but he’s only 21 and just needs to stay calm. I talked to him before the game and said if he came on then he’d score, because you only need 20 minutes.
“I must thank the Coach, as with two years of work with many players he then ended up giving me a chance for the Euros.
“In two years I scored many goals and the Coach waited to the end to see what would happen with Giuseppe Rossi, but we all wish him well for the future.”
After the final whistle Italy still had to wait and hear news from Gdansk, where Spain beat Croatia 1-0.
“Since last night with Cassano and Buffon we were convinced that we had to do our job and then see what happened. We had faith in Spain.”
In the quarter-finals, Italy will face one from England, France or Ukraine.
“They are three important teams and we know it’d be difficult whoever we ended up facing. Everyone seems to say they’d prefer to face France, so I can go with that.”