Monday August 29 2011
Prandelli wanted Week 1 action

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli admits his plans for the September Euro 2012 qualifiers have been hit by the Serie A strike.

The Azzurri face the Faroe Islands and Slovenia in the next 10 days where they'll look to book their place at next summer's European Championship.

However, Prandelli has suffered an early blow in preparation after Italy's top-flight players refused to take part in the opening round of matches.

"The strike was an own goal for everybody," he noted. "I hoped until the very last minute that games could be played.

"I was hoping that I would have a squad at my disposal who had a competitive game in their legs.

"Nevertheless, this shouldn't be a problem because all of the players know how important these games are."

The Azzurri top Group C with 16 points collected from a possible 18 and they are five clear of Slovenia who have played one more encounter.

"We are almost there in terms of qualification," admitted Prandelli. "Now we just have to prepare in the best possible manner for these two next ties."

Italy were in action earlier this month when they defeated Spain 2-1 in a friendly, a match in which Prandelli fielded two small strikers in the shape of Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano.

"The idea is to give continuity from that game in Bari," the boss added.

"However, when we had two big strikers on the pitch I realised that we needed to make tactical changes."

It's unclear whether Prandelli will stick with Cassano and Rossi as starters, especially with Mario Balotelli hoping for a first team shirt.

"I called Mario up because he did some excellent things the last time he was with us," the former Fiorentina Coach concluded.

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