Wednesday September 7 2011
Prandelli: Euro 2012 begins today

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has cut short the celebrations after Euro 2012 qualification. "The hard work starts now."

The Azzurri booked their place in next summer's competition with a 1-0 win over Slovenia last night, but the tactician insists now is not to time to sit back and relax.

"As far as I'm concerned, the European Championship starts today," stated the former Fiorentina tactician.

"We'd be making the biggest mistake possible if we think we can now go on holiday for six months and then see each other again in June.

"We have to be protagonists in Ukraine and Poland," he added. "It's also good that Andrea Pirlo says that we can win it.

"However, I don't feel that it is right for me to proclaim that we'll win the competition. We have to just think about growing much more as a team."

The Azzurri are very much a work in progress for the Coach and he's eager to spend as much time with his players as possible over the next year.

"It's legitimate to have other thoughts while the domestic campaign is going on," Prandelli continued.

"For months the national team is a digression, but everyone will be wearing the Azzurri shirt during Euro 2012.

"I ask the clubs for more time to work with the players. I want one day a week with each department of the team, not even all of them together. You'll see that we'll do something."

Prandelli was also asked for his opinion on Mario Balotelli after his encouraging substitute appearance on Tuesday.

"All he has to do now is to just think about playing football.

"He'll face competition for a place at City, but with seriousness and perseverance he'll make it hard for Roberto Mancini not to play him."

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