NEWS
Wednesday March 23 2011
Ranocchia leaves Italy camp

Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia has not recovered in time to face Slovenia on Friday and has left the Italy camp at Coverciano.

The 23-year-old has been suffering from a knee injury and was granted a day's rest on Tuesday in the hope that he would feel better.

However, tests carried out this morning weren't encouraging and it was agreed that it would be better if Ranocchia return to his club for treatment.

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NEWS
Wednesday March 23 2011
Cassano on target in Italy test

Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino and Sebastian Giovinco scored in Italy's 4-0 test against the Under-18 side.

Cesare Prandelli tested out the line-up he'll use against Slovenia in Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier.

Christian Maggio, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Balzaretti made up the four-man defence.

There was a diamond midfield with Thiago Motta, Alberto Aquilani, Montolivo and the trequartista role for Stefano Mauri.

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NEWS
Wednesday March 23 2011
Lippi: 'Prandelli is the right man'

Marcello Lippi believes Cesare Prandelli is “the right man” for Italy and comments on the crisis at Juventus.

The Coach won the 2006 World Cup and then returned for a second, unsuccessful, spell in South Africa.

“I think that regardless of how the World Cup in South Africa ended up, the Nazionale still needed to be restructured and a new generation brought in.

“I believe that Prandelli is the right man to lead the renewal of the Italy squad and begin that process. I can't think of anyone more suitable for the role.”

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BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday March 22 2011
The Prandelli Code

Italy has its first victims of the code of ethics, but Susy Campanale isn't entirely clear on the rules

The first players have fallen foul of Cesare Prandelli's ‘code of ethics' and, as promised, were dropped from the Italy squad. Daniele De Rossi was guilty of elbowing Darijo Srna of Shakhtar Donetsk while on duty for Roma, while Mario Balotelli attempted a season record for the highest tackle in Manchester City-Dynamo Kiev. They miss out on a Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia, but will this make any difference to their behaviour?

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BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday March 22 2011
Save our SuperMario

Giancarlo Rinaldi urges Mario Balotelli to silence his critics and the racists with his undoubted footballing ability

"Ho bisogno d'aiuto, rovino sempre tutto." With these simple words – "I need help, I always ruin everything" – Mario Balotelli made a plea for assistance to Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli. It has a desperate ring, especially coming from one so young.

Anyone with any experience of some form of depression will find the statement terribly familiar. It is easy to get caught up in a circle of negative thinking which believes all actions are futile and end up in disaster. It often takes some outside aid to break that pattern.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 22 2011
Thiago Motta fit to face Slovenia

Inter midfielder Thiago Motta should be fit in time to play for Italy against Slovenia in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday.

The 28-year-old of Brazilian descent trained this morning, indicating that he has recovered from an injury to his left knee.

Motta's club-mate Andrea Ranocchia was given the day off today to see if his own knee problem heals.

However, it seems unlikely that he will play a part against Slovenia.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 22 2011
De Rossi and Balotelli 'will return'

Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli “will return to the Nazionale” after breaching the code of ethics, says FIGC President Giancarlo Abete.

The two players were dropped for this week's Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia and friendly in Ukraine after disciplinary problems in their club games.

“We need consistent behaviour from those who represent Italy at international level and that led to the refusal to call some players,” commented Abete.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 22 2011
Ilicic: 'Slovenia can beat Italy'

Palermo star Josip Ilicic is confident Slovenia can cause an upset in the Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday.

“Slovenia are going out there for the three points,” said the creative midfielder who joined Serie A last summer.

“My intention is to come back to Palermo as a winner and with a grin from ear to ear.

“I think the game with Italy will be decided exclusively by individual incidents, so naturally I hope the luck will turn our way.”

Italy currently lead Group C with 10 points, followed by Slovenia on seven.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 22 2011
Zahovic: 'Slovenia will win easily!'

Slovenia legend Zlatko Zahovic has been bruising in his assessment of the Italy squad. “You've only got two or three good players.”

The two sides go head-to-head in the Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday evening and the Gazzetta dello Sport asked Zahovic for his predictions.

“We'll win easily on Friday, 2-0. More than that, I'll say Slovenia will have 70 per cent possession. Am I exaggerating? No,” said the ex-hitman.

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NEWS
Tuesday March 22 2011
Kek: 'Italy a football super-power'

Slovenia manager Matjaz Kek believes his side will be particularly inspired against “football super-power” Italy.

The teams go head-to-head in their Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday evening in Ljubljana.

“These challenges really motivate teams, so bring on Italy,” said the manager.

“We know that we are hosting a side that has won the World Cup four times and I'd call them a football super-power in terms of tradition and world class players.”

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