Prandelli admits luck played a part

25 June 2012 12:48

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said his side had been lucky to beat England on penalties in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals here on Sunday but said he still felt they deserved it.

Substitute Alessandro Diamanti was the hero as he scored the winning spot-kick to give Italy an unassailable 4-2 shoot-out lead after Gianluigi Buffon had saved Ashley Cole's effort.

Both Riccardo Montolivo for Italy and Ashley Young had missed earlier efforts.

England coach Roy Hodgson had complained that penalties are a lottery and Prandelli was not arguing.

"I'm in perfect agreement with Roy Hodgson, penalties are 80 percent luck," said Prandelli.

"Obviously some decisive players miss less because they have the right coolness and concentration and they're used to this type of pressure.

"But yes, I agree with Roy Hodgson that luck is the most important thing."

The statistics did much to suggest Italy were deserved winners as they enjoyed 64 percent of possession and they had 35 shots to just nine from England over 120 minutes of goalless stalemate.

In fact, Italy were far more dominant than most people had expected of a game everyone claimed beforehand was a 50-50 tie.

Yet Prandelli said he wasn't surprised by the way his side performed.

"I wasn't surprised, I knew we could dictate the play. Our only worry was about not conceding too many counters but we did really well in stopping those before they developed.

"We tried to go through the phases, we tried to draw them out but they wouldn't come out so we tried to go through them at great speed."

For a team who didn't just create 35 chances but got 20 of them on target, Italy's finishing was far from clinical but Prandelli defended his strikers.

"All the attackers did a great job because it was very, very difficult to create chances," he said.

"We didn't just play with heart, determination and fire, we also played intelligently.

"A team must always have ideas, we created triangles and showed the desire to play, which we did throughout the whole game."

Looking ahead to a semi-final in Warsaw on Thursday against the fancied Germans, Prandelli said his greatest concern would be getting his entire squad fully fit.

Both Daniele De Rossi and Ignazio Abate came off with muscle problems during the game while Giorgio Chiellini missed the game with a hamstring problem, the same issue that cost Thiago Motta a starting berth against England.

"We're very satisfied but we've got to try get the injured players back, as well as our force and energy," said the coach.

"Germany are definitely the favourites, not least because they've had two more days to recover.

"But if we show the same attitude and desire to play football again then we can expect to play another great match."

Buffon, admitted that having dominated for so long, he was afraid that Italy would pay for their profligacy.

"Yes I was afraid because when you start a lottery you can either win or lose.

"However, I think we deserve to be in the semi-finals because over 120 minutes of play we were the better side. We played with vigour, like a great team."

Montolivo, who is half German and has duel nationality, played down the significance of their next opponents' extra rest period.

"We're playing Thursday but a victory such as this gives us energy and one day more or less of recovery isn't so important.

"The Germans have been used to big tournaments for several years. They were in the last Euro final and that's why they're favourites alongside Spain."

Source: AFP

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