Arrigo Sacchi warned Italy’s main contender in World Cup Group D is Uruguay. “We struggled more against them than England.”
The former Coach who took the Azzurri to the 1994 Final against Brazil, lost only on penalties, spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about their chances.
“The group is not easy, but it’s not impossible either,” said Sacchi after drawing Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.
“England might seem the more dangerous side, but in truth it is Uruguay. That’s because they are playing in South America and play every time as if it’s the game of their lives.
“Uruguay have important qualities, but above all a formidable team spirit. It’s no coincidence that history tells us we’ve struggled more against them than England. In general, European sides have always had problems in South American tournaments.
“On top of all that, Uruguay are tactically tough and the kind a boxer would never want to meet, as even after a win you emerge with broken bones.”
Sacchi feels the mentality was decisive when Italy won the 2006 World Cup in Germany, at the height of the Calciopoli scandal.
“Italy were extraordinarily motivated in 2006 because they were going through criticism and scandal, but this squad is accompanied by praise, has shown maturity and balance while rediscovering a good style of football.
“Uruguay have champions like Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who can make life difficult for anyone, but I fear more their determination, desire to collaborate and physical fitness.
“Oscar Washington Tabarez is a master, but so is Cesare Prandelli. The weaknesses in Uruguay include their inconsistency and the fact that aside from Suarez and Cavani they no exceptional players. Diego Forlan, Diego Perez and Walter Gargano are good, but not phenomenal.
“With a united group they make a solid team and that is what we must fear.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.