Marchisio confident of Spain victory

16 June 2012 05:48

Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio said he is confident Spain will beat Croatia on Monday and help the Azzurri qualify for the quarter-finals.

Italy need to beat Ireland in Poznan in their last group game to stand any chance of making the knock-out stages but even then it will depend to a large extent on the result in Gdansk.

Spain and Croatia are level on points at the top of the group, two points above the Italians.

If they draw and Italy win, all three teams will finish level on points and head-to-head records will decide who progresses.

Italy are particularly worried about the other two sides drawing because a score-draw of 2-2 or higher would ensure both Spain and Croatia emerging from the group and send Italy home early.

But Marchisio, 26, has faith in world champions Spain's ability to beat Croatia.

"We believe, we have to believe otherwise there wouldn't even be any point in playing," he said.

While a Spanish victory would allow Italy to take second place in the group, so too would a Croatian success and Marchisio admits that too is a possiblity, although he says it is hard to look beyond the holders.

"Croatia are a very good team but I think Spain are the favourites in that match," said the Juventus star.

"They're clearly better, even though Croatia have quality in midfield with (Luka) Modric and hard-working forwards."

Although Italy seem more interested in events between Spain and Croatia, they still have their own game to win.

Coach Cesare Prandelli has said he will make three or four personnel changes dependent on who has got the most energy.

Marchisio says that whoever plays, as long as they play the way they did in the first half against Croatia, they will be fine.

"Notwithstanding the changes, we have to try to do what we did in the first half (against Croatia), that was the real Italy," he said.

"We have to do that for the whole 90 minutes without thinking about what is happening in the other game.

"It's true against Croatia we missed an opportunity but it's not up to us to decide what to change.

"We'll talk about it with the coach and our team-mates. It's normal that when you give a lot there can be a dip in tempo.

"And that is when you need greater balance to overcome your tiredness.

"Croatia were struggling in the first half but in the second it was us who were under pressure because we were too spaced apart."

Source: AFP