KYIV: Cesare Prandelli could not wait to get out of the Olympic Stadium in the early hours of Monday morning so as to “get home to bed” then count the injury cost of the shootout win over England in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 – and after of Thursday’s semi against Germany.
Were you concerned that Mario Balotelli missed so many chances?
I thought Balotelli was excellent. Yes, we created chances but these can always go awry in a game. He has a lot of character. At the end of the game he came straight up to me and said he wanted to take the first penalty – so that proves the point.
Were you ever worried about the result?
I always knew we could control the game. The only worry was that we might have allowed England too much space on the break. We could have been better in building the play and stopped them better on the counter attack.
Our President Napoletano phoned to congratulate us when we had just got back into the dressing rooms. He said we done very well indeed.
We are very satisfied with what we have done but now we have to get out injured players back fit again. Germany will start as favourites because they’ve had two days extra rest but I think we can put on a great performance again on Thursday
What was your game plan?
We tried to play football in different phases to draw England out of their defence but they didn’t want to come out so then we tried to hit them quickly.
All our players put in a very good game. We had heart and determination and ideas and we created chances. We wanted to play in neat little triangles and get the ball high up the pitch and that is what we did throughout the game
If we had scored inside the 90 minuts the match could have been a terrific show. Penalties are a lottery, I agree with Roy Hodgson, but I think we deserved the victory over all.
I think 80pc of penalties come down to luck. Of course there are certain playrs who miss less than others ecauise they are cool and focused in front of goal and are used to this sort of pressure but luck is the decisive factor.
What went through your mind when Montolivo missed his penalty?
I thought he’d had a great game so I was very sad because he’d been excellent, one of our best players.
What about Andrea Pirlo’s ‘Panenka’ penalty?
I was very relaxed about his penalty. He is an absolute star player. He knows what to do in every situation and that is what he did.
And Gigi Buffon?
He’s always reliable because he is like all great players: they focus entirely on what they need to do technically and can’t be distracted by anything. This is the extra quality players such as Buffon possess. He knew he could turn the result our way and that is precisely what he did.
When I was watching the penalties I had my arm around my son and I was said he was lucky not to have hd to pay for the ticket!
How do you rate Germany?
Germany are tournament favourites along with Spain. To win on Thursday we need everyone fit and fresh. In terms of ideas we have some and we are going to go for it. It’s always an open game when we play Germany.
They showed what a fine side they are in beating Greece the way they did despite making several changes in attack. They were never in danger despite doing that. But, if we are lucky enough to get our players back fit again then we can play our own football even against a fine side such as Germany. We just have to use our time very effectively between now and then.
Can you analyse the progress Italy have made since going out of the World Cup in the first round in 2010?
We’ve got to be very patient with the development of our football because a lot of coaches would like to start playing football and not just for the result.
This is a style we’ve been working on for the last two years swith the national team. We want to play our football right from the start of a game. This is the way football must go in the future. Keep a close eye on our club sides in European competition next season. You’ll see they’re willng to play their football.
I think our football can stand comparison with anyone else.
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