Cesare Prandelli has confessed that Italy ‘never imagined’ they would reach the Euro 2012 Final and rued facing a Spain side ‘firing on all cylinders’.
Prandelli’s Italy overcame a group containing Spain and Croatia before beating England and Germany to set up a rematch with La Roja in the Final, although they were thrashed 4-0.
“We started with the European Championship, we never imagined we’d reach the Final,” admitted the Genoa boss in an interview with Corriere dello Sport.
“When we beat Germany, we got back to our hotel at more or less dawn.
“The Poles welcomed us like heroes as they didn’t receive the Germans well. It was a shame about the Final.
“Spain was firing on all cylinders and I, after a training session, asked my lads if they felt fit. Everyone told me they were fine and I believed them, but four of them got injured…”
The 61-year-old was then asked about what it was like to coach Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano together.
“I’ve always liked people who are outside the box, plus they didn’t have enough time to do damage in the national team…” continued the ex-Fiorentina Coach.
“I could dine with Antonio for my entire life. He’s never dull. Of course, in everyday life, he lacks a sense of limits and is difficult to manage.
“Cassano has a code of honour. If he shakes your hand then he won’t betray you after that.
“As for others took them, there was the Juve group who, in terms of conduct, were very selective.
“For Antonio, however, I’ll always remember the great sincerity he showed in the dressing room and how he never stopped talking.
“Mario’s issue has been that his character has always taken precedence over the person he is.
“He’ll always be someone who has everything [as a player], with huge potential.”