Thursday June 6 2013
‘Italy weak on the counter’

Tomas Rosicky has reflected that the Czech Republic are aware of a particular weakness of Italy’s ahead of tomorrow.

Prague hosts the Azzurri on Friday evening for a 2014 World Cup qualifier that the Czechs’ captain has revealed will have the hosts targeting a particular aspect to their opponents.

“We have had some interesting material distributed amongst the players,” Rosicky told reporters today.

“Italy has a strong defence, but is weak in counter-attacks, as we saw against Malta and Armenia.

“The conditions for the game will be the same for both teams. Our players abroad have returned from holiday, and the only difference is those based in the Czech Republic, where the season has only just ended.

“We will come up against some of the best players in Europe. For us this is a good opportunity, we will not submit to this pressure.”

Rosicky paid homage to Andrea Pirlo, and suggested that he and Mario Balotelli will be the Azzurri’s dangermen.

“We have studied Pirlo well, his passes are very dangerous, we will try to have the midfield under our control.

“Pirlo has excellent technique and extraordinary vision, but Montolivo and De Rossi are also exceptional players, we cannot focus just on Pirlo.

“Balotelli is very strong, his age means he can become one of the top five in the world.

“He is sometimes over-discussed for reasons of behaviour. He has proven his worth though, not only in England but also Italy.”