Euro 2012: Italy ‘Can Beat Anyone’, Says Boss

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is confident the Group C runners-up can beat whoever they are drawn against in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

The Azzurri, who qualified with a 2-0 win against Republic of Ireland, could face either France or England in the last eight.

“There’s no difference to us who we play,” said Prandelli.

“We have already played Spain who are reigning world and European champions. If we play well we can take on anyone.”

Prandelli’s side held eventual group winners Spain in a pulsating 1-1 draw in their opening fixture, before earning another point with the same scoreline against Croatia.

Victory against the already-eliminated Irish in Poznan was vital for the Italians to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stage.

Goals from Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli, coupled with Spain’s 1-0 success against Croatia, booked their passage and sparked jubilant celebrations among Prandelli and his players at the final whistle.

“It was a very difficult match. We came up against a team that made us suffer,” said ex-Fiorentina coach Prandelli.

“Today, we knew that heart mattered more than quality. Tonight we created a lot – I hope it will also be like this in the next match.”

Midfielder Daniele De Rossi admitted Ireland, who finished with 10 men after Keith Andrews’s late dismissal, were as tough as any opponents they have faced in the tournament.

He added: “We had to suffer a lot against Ireland – perhaps more than in the first two. We weren’t afraid of them equalising but they hit the long ball and all you need is one piece of good fortune.”

BBC Sports

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