Wednesday June 27 2012
Prandelli: 'No defensive Italy'

Cesare Prandelli promised Italy will not go defensive against Germany. “We will run a few risks, but will always try to play football.”

There are reports Alessandro Diamanti could push his way into the starting XI after a splendid performance against England.

“Do I have doubts over my line-up? Always, as that means everyone is ready and wants to make my decisions difficult.

“Today’s training session will be crucial to evaluate the physical recovery of the players, while we are already in good shape psychologically.

“Diamanti has always shown great effort and enthusiasm, being ready whenever he was called upon.”

When the Coach was reminded that Germany are younger, unbeaten in 15, score more goals, had two further days to rest and are the tournament favourites, he joked with the journalist asking the question.

“So we should just go home now, then? No, it just means that playing this game will be even more intriguing than it already would be.

“At this moment we are very relaxed and want to put into practice everything we’ve done so far. I think difficulties make challenges more fascinating.”

Prandelli assured this would certainly not be a defensive Italy, despite being the underdogs in the semi-final.

“Would a Final be a dream or closer? I always struggle to think beyond the next match. Let’s try to focus on tomorrow’s game and putting in a great performance, then we’ll see if the Final is a dream, concrete or deserved.

“It will certainly be open to any result. We have only one real weapon and that is possession. We cannot step backwards in our approach, as it would be unfair and even immature to wipe out two years of work when it comes to the crunch.

“Therefore we will run a few risks, but will always try to play football.”

Germany manager Joachim Low said they do not fear Italy and Prandelli does not think that is a white lie.

“In my view, no. The statistics show the constant growth of that team and how much they have improved in various ways over the years.

“Their confidence is there for all to see. We’ll meet a team that has belief and won’t be afraid of anyone. It is going to be a fascinating encounter.

“We are in good shape mentally and I believe physically too. We cannot have fear. The adrenaline is the same as two days ago, the intensity of our concentration is there and all these ingredients can help tiredness wash away.”

Fiorentina were famously knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich with an offside goal, so does Prandelli think he is owed some luck against German opposition?

“That’s in the past and gives us no real sensations, other than having gone through an important evening that showed we were up to the task in football terms.”

Mario Balotelli has stuttered during the tournament and Prandelli was asked how he deals with the Manchester City striker.

“I have no difficulties communicating with him, but curiosity of trying to understand a 20-year-old lad. In terms of behaviour and mentality, these are radical changes he’s going through, so I’m curious to know what emotions he has and what he thinks he needs to do in order to become a champion.”

Italy tend to step up their game against the big opposition such as Spain, England and Germany.

“We always try to win, but it’s not possible. History teaches a lot, but it’s the reality of the moment that counts and so all past meetings show for little. We are confident we can play well.

“Aside from any potential changes, Germany have a very specific style of football and we know what their strengths are.

“From the start we worked to make the most of the qualities our players have. Our midfield is one of the best in Europe, as we can combine quality, creativity, technique and strength.

“We can be predictable if we are too static, so we try to make movement in the midfield and create space. Daniele De Rossi and Claudio Marchisio move a certain way to help ease pressure on Pirlo.

“We must keep possession and have the strength of character to play that game.

“We complimented Germany for having the strength to turn over a new leaf 10 years ago. You cannot just achieve these results from one day to the next, as they worked so hard and had courage to get here.”

Prandelli revealed he had taken a nap before the England game, showing how calm he was going into that quarter-final.

“I must confess I had a bit of a half-hour today, though I’m a little ashamed to admit it. When I close my eyes and dream, I dream fantastic things. I hope to dream of a magical and marvellous night.

“I will tell the players a few things, but simple ones. I won’t tell them to score goals, as that’s banal, but at times they can be a little anxious in the box. The important thing is to create, create, create. The more chances we have, the more likely we will be to score.”

Antonio Cassano has shown difficulties keeping up his fitness levels over a whole game following five months out due to heart surgery.

“There is intensity and there is quality. It would be offensive and superficial to say how many minutes he can play. All of them have recovered and are fired up, so whoever plays for however long will give their all.”

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