Desperate times call for
desperate measures and such is Italy's malaise that coach Cesare
Prandelli is seriously considering playing midfielder Daniele De
Rossi in a new three-man defence in their Euro 2012 opener
Changing formation and switching a key player to an unusual
position would be radical for any team heading into their first
match of a major tournament but pondering the idea before facing
the world and European champions could be considered bold - or
A possibly Euro-ending injury to defender Andrea Barzagli
and a 3-0 humbling in their last friendly against Russia last
week have prompted Prandelli to mull ditching 4-4-2 for Sunday's
Group C game. He has already tested the new system in training.
"We know that we have found some difficulties so it would be
crazy not to try another solution. Many players have adapted to
this system this season, even Daniele at Roma," Prandelli told a
news conference hours after Italy landed at their Polish base.
Defender Angelo Ogbonna, who played the Italian second tier
Serie B last term with Torino, is among those in the frame for
the Gdansk game and Prandelli has no qualms about starting him
but is not yet certain to go with three at the back.
"From the moment they are in the 23, they are ready.
Unfortunately we've seen what can happen with Barzagli. Ogbonna
must be ready," he said.
Prandelli also revealed that if Barzagli is ruled out of the
tournament before Friday's deadline then Davide Astori would be
called up because original standby Andrea Ranocchia is injured.
Mario Balotelli, Giorgio Chiellini and Christian Maggio, who
had a shocker against Russia, all have minor niggles but should
The Azzurri's injury problems and lack of confidence follow
a tortuous few weeks for the Italian game with fresh
match-fixing allegations hitting the domestic league and costing
left-back Domenico Criscito his place in the squad. He denies
Given the chaotic build-up, Prandelli is still talking up
his team's chances in his first tournament as coach after an
almost faultless qualification campaign.
"They want to have a Euros where they are challengers. This
is the spirit of the group. I have found a group that has a
great amount of responsibility," he said.
"The positive aspect is that we arrive [for the first
game] with great concentration and focus. The negative aspect is
that it is Spain," added the former Fiorentina boss, who will
take his squad to visit the nearby Nazi death camp at Auschwitz
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