Italy will make own luck, not worry over any 'fix' - Cesare Prandelli

Azzurri haunted by 2004 exit but coach focuses on his 'most important ever match' with Ireland

Poznan

It's a match with so many deep dimensions swirling around it that you could forgive Cesare Prandelli's pre-match press conference descending into fractious debate. The Italy coach, however, did his best to boil it all down to a single issue: his team simply must beat the Republic of Ireland in what he terms his "most important ever match".

Unfortunately for Italy, that may not be enough. And it certainly wasn't enough for their media. The build-up, after all, has seemingly been boiled down to three issues by the Italian press: formation, fortune and figures.

Overshadowing the match is the fact that Italy may be unluckily eliminated by a mutually beneficial result elsewhere for the second time in eight years; underscoring it is a deep domestic debate about the formation Italy will use.

But, in a press conference that was almost completely dominated by in-depth – and often very testy – tactical talk, Prandelli sounded one clear note on all of it: "You've got to go out and make your own luck. You only earn luck by playing attacking football."

And, with all of Italy obsessed with the possibility of a biscotto – Spain and Croatia replicating Sweden and Denmark's 2-2 draw of 2004 to send both through at Italy's expense – Prandelli felt there was a bit too much presumptuousness about his team's own match with Ireland.

"This is a very organised side. They can play football and fight. They want to give pride to their fans. It will make it a tough game. I am solely focused on the result in our game. I'm not really concerned about what everyone else is saying."

He did, however, have something to say about the Spanish: "I don't think a side like Spain, who've based their entire image on providing a show, will think of planning a game to that detail."

The Italian journalists, however, demanded Prandelli himself go into even more detail on his own formation, whether he'd play three at the back or four. Prandelli had only one answer. "I've been quite clear on this," he said. "I'm not going to tell you before the game. Let me have a slight advantage. It might not even be an advantage. The most important aspect is the way you're playing. The formation is just numbers. You have to be flexible.

"In terms of the team itself, we've trained well. If it only depended on us, we're happy with how we are in terms of fitness so we're going to run for 90 minutes and set a high tempo."

Deepening this potential drama, of course, is Prandelli's meeting with his old boss, as well as former Italy coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, who is also finding himself on the other end of 2004's intrigue.

For his part, the Ireland coach has kept things simple: he will pick the exact same team that started against Croatia "out of respect" for those very players and the group situation, while handing Damien Duff the captain's armband on his 100th cap.

Trapattoni, meanwhile, also had a simple response for Roy Keane yesterday: "He has to think about what he has done as a coach, for fuck's sake."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?