Friday 20 April 2018

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has only eyes for Spain ahead of Euro 2012 final

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Photo: Reuters
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Photo: Reuters

ITALY coach Cesare Prandelli has dismissed talk of his future and insists he is only interested in Sunday's Euro 2012 final showdown with Spain.

Prandelli's contract is not due to expire until 2014.

However, after transforming the Azzurri's fortunes during his two years in charge, Prandelli is a man in demand.

The 54-year-old already had an impressive reputation following five successful seasons at Fiorentina.

With Italy though, he has done even better, helping them to shed the stereotypical image of a dour, defensive team to become one of the most entertaining in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Prandelli admits he misses the day-to-day involvement of domestic coaching.

But he is keen to get Sunday's showpiece in Kiev out of the way before he starts to think about his future.

"Listen, I've had my phone on and I've not had a call," he said.

"I've said before, I've got a great relationship with the Italian Football Federation and I love the shirt.

"I do miss the everyday aspect of club football, of course, but that's as far as it goes."

As in 1982 and 2006, the Italian national team has made light of the scandals that have engulfed the game back home.

This time around it was the match-fixing allegations that have erupted and caused Domenico Criscito to be withdrawn from the squad.

Yet despite the negativity, Italy have come out fighting.

And after holding Spain in their opening group game, they now fancy their chances of going one better, especially as Mario Balotelli has hit top form.

However, Prandelli is eager not to get carried away.

"I open my eyes but I'm still dreaming," he said.

"There's great satisfaction here because everyone has put so much work into this.

"But Spain will go into the game as favourites.

"They've been working on this for many years and have dominated every single contest.

"They are a brilliant side."

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