Wednesday October 16 2013
Prandelli: World Cup squad open

Coach Cesare Prandelli was confused by Italy’s 2-2 draw with Armenia and warned he has not chosen his World Cup squad just yet.

“I am absolutely not disappointed with the result, as the objective was to qualify. We went to the Euros and reached the Final without being top seeds,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“We started very badly in the opening 20 minutes and conceded a goal. Once we raised the tempo a little and found some depth, we played good football and got back into the game.

“We made life difficult for ourselves with that goal from a corner and it became tougher to get the result. We created many scoring opportunities tonight and were also fairly unlucky.

“We always respected Armenia, as they are strong physically and their best quality is the technique on the rapid counter-attacks. They are a very interesting team.”

Mario Balotelli came off the bench and scored the equaliser after Armenia had again gone in front.

“I can only say he was very motivated and this is the Mario with personality, technique and strength. I can only compliment him on his performance, as he came on eager to help the team.

“Lorenzo Insigne played well, was consistent, created a goal and had several chances. It takes only a few centimetres to score a goal and change the game, but he got himself in the right positions and in my view had a great performance.”

Prandelli warned he still has a lot to consider before choosing his 23-man squad for Brazil 2014.

“We don’t have the final World Cup squad yet. There are months to go in which I must evaluate, judge and reflect not just on technique, but also how they react to psychological setbacks and what their character is like.

“We all know that on an international level anyone who combines technique with strength can go far, whereas just technique is not enough. I have to give more of a chance to those with physical strength and stamina.”

This could well be a hint for those who want veterans Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano or Antonio Di Natale at the tournament.

Italy needed a win from their last two World Cup qualifiers to be sure of top seed status in the draw, but were held to 2-2 draws by both Denmark and Armenia.

“I made 10 changes because I wanted a fresh team and one that was more motivated, but we struggled anyway,” mused Prandelli.

“That shouldn’t have happened, as we were already qualified, yet we started slowly and timidly. That suggests to me the Azzurri jersey weighs heavily on some shoulders.”

The Coach also commented on his plans to limit use of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook during the World Cup in Brazil.

“We know social networks are important and the public wants to hear directly from the players, but perhaps during the World Cup there should be a few regulations.

“If a player has something to say in the World Cup, he can come in for a Press conference and face them head-on.”

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