Friday October 7 2011
Pirlo 'proud' of Azzurri performance

Andrea Pirlo was “proud” of Italy's showing in Serbia and his Juventus teammate Claudio Marchisio's debut goal.

“We had to put in a great performance in a difficult arena against a side that had to win at all costs, so we're proud to have imposed our football on the match,” he said after the 1-1 draw in Belgrade.

“Serbia thought they'd get off to a strong start, but so did we and scored in the opening minute. When the deadlock is broken so early, it always becomes difficult for the opposition.

“We could've put the win under lock and key in the first half, but the team played good football and it's a step forward ahead of Euro 2012.

“We are all very technical players who like pretty football, so sometimes that can lead to a few too many passes and not enough finishing, but we are working on being more decisive in front of goal.”

Marchisio had never previously scored for the Azzurri at senior level, but netted in Belgrade after 56 seconds.

“He wanted this first goal and it came right at the start of the game, so he couldn't have asked for better. He's having a great period of form and we hope it will continue.”

Pirlo looked back at the disastrous 2010 World Cup in South Africa and ahead to Euro 2012.

“Unfortunately there was great regret I couldn't contribute to the World Cup, but we are out of that dark tunnel now and can continue to push forward.

“For Euro 2012 I'd put Spain as favourites, then Holland and Germany, as they always go all the way in every competition. I'd put us in the second row, as it were, along with Holland.”

Last week Juventus beat Pirlo's former Milan teammates 2-0 and he was asked how that felt.

“No personal satisfaction, as I've been at Juventus for a while now. The only important thing was to win for the Bianconeri and prove we are a great squad who are still top of the table.”

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