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Semi Finalist - Italy Profile
Considering Italy's preparation, it is surprising to know that they strived into Euro Semi-final. They suffered three complete losses in warm up games, including a big lost to Russia by 0: 3. In addition, they defeated Ireland and finally reached last eight of Euro 2012 which was the first victory in their recent 7 matches. However, as a matter of fact, Cesare Prandelli's side have started comprehensively recovery. They smoothly entered to the final lap during preliminaries by unbeaten achievement and the momentum has extended to the present.
Andrea Barzagli was hurt in the game against Russia, and he had to miss the first two group games. At the same time, Cesare Prandelli gave up his favorite formation 4-3-1-2 and forced to change it to 3-5-2 with midfilder Daniele De Rossi back to the center of three-man defense. Italy took full advantages on possession and created lots of scoring opportunities. But the first two games were evened by the opponents with 1: 1, what's more unfortunately, both matches were equalized by opponents under the 1 goal ahead situation. As Andrea Barzagli returned he was reverted right away by coach Cesare Prandelli, assisting the victory over Ireland first and then preventing England in the quarter-final.
Andrea Pirlo was the key force that helped Italy seal the FIFA World Cup 2006 championship. And his influence has continued to Euro this term. Andrea Pirlo plays as a midfielder whose insight creates threatening attacking to his competitors time and time again. When confronting with Spain he assisted Antonio Di Natale to open the scoring; in the following match against Croatia, his typical free-kick broke the deadlock on the field; moreover he gave a Panenka penalty in the shoot-out against England. Alessandro Diamante praised, Even when tired Pirlo is the best midfielder in the world.
EURO semi-final record:
05/06/1968 Italy 0-0 USSR (aet, ITA won on coin toss) (Naples)
22/06/1988 USSR 2-0 Italy (Stuttgart)
29/06/2000 Italy 0-0 Netherlands (aet, ITA won 3-1 on pens) (Amsterdam)
Cesare Prandelli has led the team participating in 24 matches as an Italy coach. He works hard in training and luckily the result of the games they took are good and positive, so the teammates are getting on well with each other. In a training course, Mario Balotelli and Di Natale joined together to trip up Antonio Cassano. "Oi, so you want me to get injured do you?" he screamed; competition exists among these three strikers though, they seem to get along very well. "The atmosphere in the camp is good," Cassano said. "My teammates and I are having fun but in the end it's results that count."
Room for improvement:
Italy players prefer to hold the traditional opinion that "gut instinct of defending a lead" while Cesare Prandelli is trying to shift this concept. Italy's score were evened by both Spain and Croatia when they held 1 goal ahead. "We dropped too deep, we subconsciously thought we could protect our lead," he said. "That is the mentality we need to change." Meanwhile, the Azzurri are absolutely worth to be in the semi-final. Italy only in one match presented a little inferior to opponent in dominating possession. As for the crucial reason why not win is that their non-proficiency in catching chances in front of goal.
"We can play progressive football. As long as we try to take the initiative we are a good side. We become a side with a thousand fears if we try to protect a result." Prandelli clearly planed.