MILAN - Italy have a lot of catching up to
do to reach the same standard as world champions Spain and
Wednesday's friendly can show them how far they have still to
go, coach Cesare Prandelli said Monday.
"I'm curious to see how much ground we have covered to
reduce the distance between ourselves and Spain," Prandelli told
"I'm curious to see what point we are at. Spain have an
advantage thanks to the work they have been doing over the last
few years at national youth team level.
"The difference between them and us is cultural. I want to
see our team play with personality and courage to win back the
ball, and then to be able to use it."
Italy's World Cup win in 2006 has become a distant memory.
They lost on penalties to eventual winners Spain in the Euro
2008 quarter-finals and were knocked out in the group stage of
last year's World Cup.
In contrast, Spain's style of play has captured the
imagination of the footballing world while Barcelona are
European club champions.
Prandelli also hit back at Fiorentina coach Sinisa
Mihajlovic, who has complained at the decision to omit his
striker Alberto Gilardino and call up two Serie B players -
Angelo Ogbonna of Torino and Sampdoria midfielder Angelo
"Gilardino is among the best players in the world for long
balls played into space and into the middle of the area. Against
Spain, I needed a player with other characteristics," Prandelli
"Palombo is not a Serie B player and Ogbonna is an
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