Saturday June 15 2013
Prandelli: 'Balotelli should play'

Cesare Prandelli hinted at a change of tactics against Mexico and assured “there’s a good chance Mario Balotelli will play.”

Italy begin their Confederations Cup campaign at the Maracanà on Sunday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT). Today Brazil beat Japan 3-0 in the other Group A game.

There had been an injury scare in training on Friday evening, but Super Mario appears to have recovered from a slight muscular problem.

“There’s a good chance Balotelli will play,” said the Coach in his Press conference on Saturday evening.

Prandelli was asked about the probable change to a 4-3-2-1 system with Emanuele Giaccherini and Claudio Marchisio supporting the centre-forward.

“We have to take into account the physical aspect and the fitness levels of the squad right now. The muscular problems we’ve had in training just shows that we worked with great intensity. I’m convinced everyone will reach peak fitness at the right time.

“We have players of great quality, especially in midfield, and have built the side around their movement and possession.

“We also experimented with a few different options, but this is the one that gives us the most guarantees.

“Am I still worried by the performances against the Czech Republic and Haiti? We worked on our tactics over the last few days as well as on our pride and motivation.”

Italy’s opening game will be at the Maracanà in Rio de Janeiro against CONCACAF representatives Mexico.

“We are excited to be in a legendary stadium that we all dreamed about,” continued Prandelli.

“We want to, and I am convinced we will, play a great game. And win it too. We know Mexico well, as they keep the ball at the start of a move and have four players who attack the space. They are a balanced side and we’ll battle over who will have more possession.”

The predicted starting XI for the match includes six Juventus players.

“It is a great fortune for me to have players who know each other so well from club level. Whether Juventus, Milan or any other team, synergy like that is great for any Coach.”

 Italy probable: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Sciglio; De Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo; Marchisio, Giaccherini; Balotelli