Italy boss Cesare Prandelli intends to remain on the Azzurri bench to mastermind their World Cup 2014 bid – after last night’s 4-0 loss to Spain in the Euro 2012 Final.
La Nazionale crumbled in Kiev as the reigning European and world champions collected a comfortable victory.
There had been fears on the eve of the finale that the game could have been Prandelli’s last in charge, but he’s intimated that he will see out his contract which expires in the summer of 2014.
“I did have certain thoughts at times, but the project won’t stop and we’ll move ahead,” he stated. “We have the strength and the objective is to continue.
“My relationship with the Federation has always been good and I’ll talk with the President. This is a fascinating and difficult project, but it would be impossible to leave like this.”
Spain quickly took control of the tie against an Italy side who looked sluggish after energetic wins over England and Germany in the previous week.
“You could see from the start that Spain were fresher physically,” Prandelli lamented. “We didn’t have the time to recover this week. We needed to contain them, but we needed to be at 100 per cent fitness wise.
“The only regret is that we didn’t have a few extra days to prepare, but then Spain are a great side and there was no game when we went down to 10-men.”
Some have suggested that Italy were punished for fancying their chances against Vicente Del Bosque’s team. But Prandelli has defended his troops from that accusation.
“It was impossible that we could think we were stronger than we were. The truth is that we had no energy. We didn’t underestimate them.
“The result was a severe punishment. We didn’t make any tactical mistakes in the first half. We struggled physically and to play a certain brand of football you have to be fit.”
Although the tournament ended negatively, the former Fiorentina boss has praised all of his Azzurri for their efforts.
“It has been an extraordinary championship,” he continued. “Now we have to grow over the next two years.
“This side deserves an eight out of 10. We played some great games. These players have showed that they have a great group spirit, that they want to play football without making calculations.
“We went through some hard times by staying united. We also showed that we can lose with dignity.
“I’ve complimented the players. We need to grow and arrive at competitions like this with the right amount of time to recover from the strains of the championship.”
Italy progressed to the Final thanks to a Mario Balotelli brace against Germany in the semi-final, but there were only tears at the end for the young striker.
“I told Mario that he has to accept defeats, that these experiences are to be used in the future. This is sport.”