Sergio Ramos insists Italy won’t be able to surprise Spain in the Confederations Cup semi-final. “We know perfectly well how they play.”
The Azzurri may well be forced into a tactical revolution on Thursday in Fortaleza after losing Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate to injury.
“We do not expect any surprises. We know perfectly well how Italy play and we know that a very complicated game awaits us,” the defender told reporters.
“The Azzurri have a great deal of experience. Cesare Prandelli’s men have a very strong competitive mentality and always proved it with results despite the fact they’ve had a few problems with us recently.”
The teams drew 1-1 in the Euro 2012 group phase only for Italy to then lose 4-0 in the Final of the same tournament.
“I think Italy will have the same philosophy as a year ago. They have a mixture of young players and veterans who will make life more difficult for us than in the Euro 2012 Final. We cannot relax.
“Balotelli does make the difference, but he will be replaced by another player with the same quality or even better.”
Ramos vented his fury at the newspaper reports suggesting players had money stolen from their hotel rooms during a game of strip poker with five women brought into the team hotel.
“People cannot play with Spain’s reputation or their families, children, wives and girlfriends. We have a thoroughly clean and honest history.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition  - £5,000 monthly.