NEWS
Wednesday March 30 2011
Prandelli: 'They gave us up for dead'

Cesare Prandelli hit back at Italy's critics. “They gave us up for dead, but we've wiped out the post-World Cup pessimism.”

The Azzurri have been revived under their new Coach, winning back-to-back games away to Slovenia and Ukraine, while they are five points clear at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group C.

“Yes, there is a more relaxed atmosphere and we've wiped out the post-World Cup pessimism,” Prandelli told Ansa news agency.

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BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday March 29 2011
Not too friendly...

After years of dreading the dirge of an Italy friendly, Susy Campanale says we're finally seeing some fight from these players

I watch football for a living. This is almost always the best job in the world. The only times it truly felt like an unpleasant task was when I had to sit through Italy's international friendlies. These were traditionally bore draws or, even worse, defeats to unlikely nations with the Coach insisting they did all that could be expected of them and learned from the experience.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
Sheva to miss Italy friendly

Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko will not play tonight when Ukraine takes on Italy in an international friendly.

The 34-year-old striker, now back with Dynamo Kiev, was expected to captain his side.

However, Shevchenko had to attend to urgent family matters and flew to London where his son is due to have an operation.

"It's a disappointment not to meet him during the match," said Italy boss Cesare Prandelli.

"He is a legend in Italy and has always had a strong connection with the country."

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
'Rossi and Cassano are compatible'

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli thinks Milan's Antonio Cassano and Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi can play together for the national team.

Speaking ahead of tonight's friendly against Ukraine against whom Rossi will start, but Cassano won't, Prandelli said it doesn't mean they're not compatible.

"Rossi has improved a lot in terms of his being conscious of his own means," Prandelli told Rai.

"For me, he is not an alternative to Cassano. Both can coexist. They are complementary.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
Prandelli: 'Infinite patience with Balo'

“I have infinite patience with Mario Balotelli,” assured Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli after the latest scandal.

The Manchester City striker was dropped for the games against Slovenia and Ukraine after breaching the code of ethics by receiving a ban for violent conduct at club level.

This week he was also accused by British newspapers of throwing darts towards City youth team players in training.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
Prandelli breaks friendly taboo

Cesare Prandelli praised the “spirit” of his Italy squad after breaking the friendly taboo in Ukraine.

The Azzurri had a notoriously poor record in friendlies of one win from their last 11, against Sweden in 2009, six draws and four defeats.

“I was happy to see the lads fighting in an organised manner,” said the Coach of their 2-0 victory in Kiev.

“We saw that we could go on the counter when Ukraine lost the ball in that position and it was important for me to see the players' spirit.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
Matri: 'I never dreamed of debut goal!'

Alessandro Matri admits he “never expected to score on my debut” and explains how he got the goal in Kiev.

“I never expected to score on my debut. We got the win, which is even more important,” he said after Italy's 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

They were already leading 1-0 when substitute Matri gathered Sebastian Giovinco's backheel flick on the counter and finished with an angled drive in off the upright.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 29 2011
Rossi sees new Azzurri generation

Giuseppe Rossi was pleased to see so many of his old Under-21 teammates progressing to the senior Italy squad.

The average age of the line-up this evening was 26, compared to the 29 that went to the 2010 World Cup.

“There's always been a good connection with (Sebastian) Giovinco and we also had (Riccardo) Montolivo, (Alberto) Aquilani and (Antonio) Nocerino from the Under-21 side,” he said of tonight's 2-0 friendly win in Ukraine.

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BLOG ITALIA
Monday March 28 2011
The boy from Brazil

Born in Brazil, but with roots in Rovigo, Thiago Motta is fast becoming a symbol of the new Italy. James Horncastle reports

It started with a hat-trick and a historic 9-4 win against France at the Velodrome Sempione in Milan on January 18, 1920. Ermanno Aebi, a striker with a Swiss father and Italian mother, who had first kicked a ball at school in Neuchatel before coming to the attention of Giovanni Paramithiotti, a founder of a new club called Internazionale, famously became the first Oriundo to play and score for Italy.

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BLOG ITALIA
Monday March 28 2011
Centre of attention

Ukraine represents a significant marker in Cesare Prandelli's progress in moulding a new Italy team centred on midfield development, says Rob Paton

Now in firm control of Group C qualification, recent performances have even surprised the players. Yet to name the same starting line-up in successive qualifiers, four consecutive clean sheets – their best return in Euro qualifying for 36 years – attention turns to a tactical influence on the side.

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