Saturday June 16 2012
Marchisio warns Balotelli

Claudio Marchisio supports Italy’s 3-5-2 system, warns Mario Balotelli “his opportunities could run out” and believes Spain won’t stitch up the Azzurri.

Although Italy have to beat the Republic of Ireland on Monday evening, most of the media coverage has been on the possibility Spain-Croatia could end 2-2, rendering the other results futile.

“I believe Spain when they say they’ll play to win, but then we have to believe them, otherwise we wouldn’t even step on to the pitch,” said Marchisio in today’s Press conference.

“The Spaniards are certainly the favourites, but Croatia impressed me too, especially Luka Modric. As for our own record, I don’t want to think about comparisons with 2010. If we considered those, it would be negative for the team.”

Italy went out in the group phase of the 2010 World Cup after two draws and a defeat, while so far in Euro 2012 they have only two points.

Cesare Prandelli confirmed he is standing by the new 3-5-2 system, although there are rumours the Juventus players in the squad pushed for this approach.

“Absolutely not,” assured Marchisio. “It was the Coach who realised with the men at his disposal that he could change system. Besides, in the two games we’ve played with the 3-5-2, the team has done well and didn’t run many risks at the back.

“This Italy could be a little bit like Juventus mid-season when we had a few too many draws and I do see some analogies. With Juve we slowly managed to take our chances again and I hope the same will happen with Italy.

“I had several scoring opportunities too over the last couple of games, but at the moment the important thing is for the team to score against Ireland. We have to win, the rest does not matter.

“The way I see it, we won’t suffer the pressure of being either in or out, as we’re a team with so many experienced players and some World Cup winners.

“Of course on paper we hoped things would go better than this, but in top competitions it can happen to struggle against teams with less quality, because they are more highly motivated.”

Balotelli is new to a major tournament and has wasted several sitters, leading to reports he could be benched against Ireland.

“We can all see that he’s not happy when he’s substituted and keeps it all in. The way I see it, the Coach could keep faith with him for the third match too, even if Mario also has to understand that sooner or later his opportunities could run out.”

UEFA are taking disciplinary action against Croatia after their fans made racist chants and reportedly threw a banana on to the pitch when Balotelli was substituted.

“It doesn’t take much intelligence to understand some things ought to be condemned,” added Marchisio.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with