Panucci ready for last chance
21 Jun 2008 - 16:42:55
Italy defender Christian Panucci is content to play his fourth game in two weeks on Sunday when Roberto Donadoni's side take on Spain in the last quarter-final.
The 35-year-old AS Roma player is set to partner Giorgio Chiellini at the centre of Italy's defence after recovering from a slight knee problem and is happy with his overall fitness levels.
He said: "I recover really well. I must say physically I don't feel tired two days after a match. I am happy.
"I thank my mother for making me this way. I've always had a professional and rigid lifestyle."
Panucci has won his chance as Andrea Barzagli had to have knee surgery on Friday, while Fabio Cannavaro had an ankle operation before the finals got underway.
Panucci added: "This is the last big opportunity of my career. It would not be sensible to say I was aiming for the 2010 World Cup. But you never say never.
"I understand Spain don't want to play Italy because the history of the Euros is not good for Spain.
"Italy have been more prepared for the big competitions but Spain have improved a lot in recent years.
"We know Spain are a strong side with enthusiasm and they will give us problems."