Monday February 7 2011
Prandelli on the new faces

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has explained his thinking behind calling up new boys Thiago Motta, Alessandro Matri and Sebastian Giovinco.

All three players received their first Azzurri call-ups on Sunday ahead of Wednesday's international friendly against Germany.

Inter star Motta, the latest Oriundo, was expected to be included even though Italy had to get clearance from FIFA given that he had appeared for a Brazilian Under-23 side in his career.

"We were following Motta even when Andrea Pirlo was available, he is not a replacement," the Coach noted.

"We want a technical midfield, with plenty of quality and he fits the bill. He can play both as a playmaker and as a central midfielder."

Juventus striker Matri was also included for the first time less than seven days after completing a loan move to the Turin giants.

"We were watching him even before he arrived at Juventus," Prandelli insisted. "He's a finisher, but can play out wide too."

Perhaps the most surprising of the newcomers was Parma starlet Giovinco, who has taken his time to settle at the Tardini since joining on loan from Juve last summer.

"Just like Stefano Mauri, Alessandro Diamanti and Andrea Cossu, Giovinco is part of our plans as we are considering players who can play in between the lines and not on the wing.

"Despite his small stature he can sometimes be a giant on the pitch.

"There aren't many wingers right now.

"At the start we tried to focus on playing on the flanks, but for the moment I have to give up on the possibility of a winger and focus on building a very technical midfield."

Prandelli was also asked for his thoughts on this week's friendly opponents.

"It is always a fascinating game," he stated. "I would like there to be a friendly against such opposition every year. Of course at the moment we have a lot of players unavailable due to injury.

"Memories? The game of the century for me was in 1970 against the Germans in Mexico [Italy won 4-3]. I was woken up in the middle of the night to watch it.

"In the 1982 World Cup Final there were many of my friends playing and the semi-final in 2006 really involved everyone – Marcello Lippi's Italian team played some fantastic football."