Italy coach Cesare Prandelli confident of Euro 2012 progress

 

Defiant Italy coach Cesare Prandelli insists the Azzuri still have every chance of qualifying for the Euro 2012 knockout stages despite having to settle for their second consecutive Group C draw.

The Italians will go into their final group game against the already eliminated Republic of Ireland knowing only a win will be good enough to give them a chance of reaching the last eight.

Prandelli's men looked well set for victory over Croatia when Andrea Pirlo put them ahead with a stunning free-kick.

However, Mario Mandzukic netted his third goal in two games to salvage a point for his side.

Prandelli said: "We're still convinced we can get through. Mathematically we are not out of it. We need to play well, but we have wasted an opportunity here.

"I don't think we lack character in any way, shape or form. But we do struggle, there is a drop in our level at the 60th minute.

"In terms of the last two games, at that stage of the game we lack fresh legs.

"We need to rest up after this, we need to see how we manage our energy levels."

In a bright start for Italy, Mario Balotelli fired just wide after three minutes and Claudio Marchisio shaved the bar, while Croatia's solitary early chance came when Nikica Jelavic just missed a chance in front of goal.

Marchisio then brought two saves out of Stipe Pletikosa before Pirlo stepped up to whip home a right-foot free-kick from 21 yards which crept inside the Croatia goalkeeper's right-hand post.

Croatia responded well with Luka Modric firing wide before Mandzukic - who also scored twice against the Republic of Ireland - fired home from six yards to pull his side level on 72 minutes.

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said: "I'm really satisfied that we've got four points from the two games.

"It could be even better but four points is optimal, realistic and now we have a real chance to go through.

"All I will say is that I'm very optimistic for the next match."

 

PA

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower