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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future