Tuesday November 19 2013
Prandelli pleased with Rossi-Balotelli

Cesare Prandelli dropped hints that Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Balotelli are his first choice front two after Italy’s 2-2 draw with Nigeria.

“It was a good performance and we went for the victory to the final minute. I think we played good football and I observed certain good midfield situations,” said the Coach in his Press conference at Craven Cottage.

“Balotelli and Rossi were playing together for the first time really. They combined well and sought each other out. Riccardo Montolivo’s position was to free Rossi in that area.

“We made only one huge mistake in the first half. When leading 1-0, we lowered the tempo and kept possession for the sake of it.

“After the changes we put Alessio Cerci very wide and also did well with that system.”

Prandelli was asked whether this strike pairing represented the first choice at the World Cup, considering they’ve barely played together.

“Balotelli and Rossi can really do something important in that area of the field. They both played one-touch football, got along well, had a dialogue on the pitch and I liked the performance.

“It was their first time together, but with their talents it all becomes easier even without practice.”

It was the Azzurri’s fourth consecutive stalemate after draws with Denmark, Armenia and Germany.

“This game was a great summation of football – you can be dominating, but a couple of mistakes and you’re 2-1 down. We had a few moments of suffering, but the important thing is to be ready to suffer.”

There is only one more friendly match before Prandelli has to name his World Cup squad, as they travel to Spain in order to play the current European and World champions in March.

“Of course when you choose 23 players, you end up leaving some behind who would deserve to go. There is time to make decisions and I will end up thanking those who don’t make the journey to Brazil.”

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