Prandelli's waiting game
Saturday, 23 June, 2012
Cesare Prandelli and Mario Balotelli prepare to meet England in the Euro 2012 quarter final.
Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli is trying a new selection tactic ahead of Sunday’s Euro
2012 clash with England in Kiev – keeping his team a secret until one-hour before kick-off.
Centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is definitely out because of an injury but midfielder Thiago Motta has fully recovered from a muscle problem and that is all Prandelli is prepared to reveal.
The Italian coach normally announces his line-up a day ahead of games, but he admitted he did not want to give England any edge this time and said: “For the first time in my two years in charge I've left everybody not knowing who is going to start.
“Against Spain we didn't know who was playing and it took us a while during the game to get used to things; I think it's the same for other teams so we have to take what little advantages we can. I think the players probably know whether or not they're playing, though.
“We've noticed England are one of the most organised sides in Europe. They focus on a small, 40-metre space. They're going to play at a high tempo and put their foot in but we need to take the initiative.”
One Italian extra keen to play is Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli, who said: “I hope it will be a good match. I think it will be fun to play against my (club) team-mates. I want to win, even if they are my club-mates; I want them to lose.
"I don't have to show anything to anyone, not to England, not to Italy and not to anyone," said Balotelli. "I'm not a Super Mario or a Stupid Mario, I'm just Mario."