MILAN - New Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
is not one for jumping up and down on the touchline like a
jack-in-a-box and he is not getting carried away with six points
out of six against weak Euro 2012 qualifying opponents.
The dismal group stage exit at the World Cup under Marcello
Lippi is far from forgotten after a fortunate 2-1 comeback win
in Estonia on Friday and a 5-0 victory over the Faroe Islands on
Tuesday in Florence.
Both goals in Tallinn came from corners, as did the first
against the Faroes where frontman Alberto Gilardino broke his
11-month international scoring drought with a header.
Daniele De Rossi and Fabio Quagliarella's goals on Tuesday
were scruffy and Andrea Pirlo netted a late free-kick.
The only real piece of top class skill in open play came
when Antonio Cassano thumped in a wonderful third goal against
the Faroes, whose world ranking of 118 is surprisingly high.
"We can still improve a lot," Prandelli, picked as Lippi's
successor largely because of his pragmatic approach during five
years at Fiorentina, told reporters.
He has made wholesale changes to the squad, most notably
bringing the mercurial Cassano in from the international
wilderness, but the 4-3-3 he feels he is forced to play by
Italian football's lack of wingers is not functioning perfectly.
Cassano is being dragged to the left wing too easily where
he struggles to do damage while the midfield trio of De Rossi,
Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo are not breaking into the box
Swathes of empty seats in Florence in what was Prandelli's
home debut in his former club stadium shows fans have yet to
forgive the huge letdown in South Africa.
October's Group C trip to Northern Ireland and home game
with Serbia will give a much better impression of where
Prandelli's new Italy are at.
"In the World Cup Italy had difficulties because they were
all organised teams and if we had not managed to break through
the Faroes early it too would have become tricky," Gilardino
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