Cesare Prandelli admits “there were a few difficulties, especially in terms of character” with Italy's debutants.
“We came up against a very aggressive side. In the second half we had more space to move, but the character was great, as we didn't want to lose and fought to the end,” he said of the 1-1 friendly draw with Romania.
He played four senior debutants from the start – Cristian Ledesma, Andrea Ranocchia, Alessandro Diamanti and Federico Balzaretti.
“There were a few difficulties, especially in terms of character,” confessed the Coach in his post-match interview with RAI.
“Mario Balotelli did very well, but we didn't have much depth in the first half.”
The friendly match in Austria had very few people in the stands, but there were clearly audible racist chants against Balotelli from the Romanian section.
“I was disappointed and angry to hear those chants. It really makes you want to do something, but we are impotent in this situation.
“I would love to see someone embrace him to confirm the faith and affection in this lad.”
The experiment of using no pure centre-forward so the trequartista role rotated between Diamanti, Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi did not have much effect.
“We could use this system again in 2011. We'll see.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!