Euro 2012: Police raid casts shadow on Italian team’s fateJune 3rd, 2012 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS
Rome, June 3 (IANS) Days away from the Euro 2012 opener, a police raid on Italy’s pre-tournament training camp has cast a shadow on the team’s fate.
Well-known defender Domenico Criscito was handed a search warrant as part of an investigation into the latest match-fixing scandal to engulf Italian football. Criscito was then confirmed out of the Italian 23-man squad for the Euro 2012.
So far, the scandal has touched 22 clubs, 52 players and 33 matches, Xinhua reported.
However, it doesn’t mean that Italy are doomed to collapse in the upcoming Euro 2012. On the contrary, Italy had been crowned twice in the World Cup (1980, 2006) in the same situation.
It would be fair to say that the jury is still out on the Italian side which will take part in the European Championships this June.
The side coached by Cesare Prandelli had few problems qualifying for the finals, producing a series of displays which were solid rather than inspiring in a group where Estonia (who were then comfortably beaten by the Republic of Ireland) finished in second place.
Prandelli’s side based its campaign on a rock solid defence, conceding a miserly two goals in 10 matches, although one of those, at home to Serbia, was abandoned after less than 10 minutes due to riots by visiting fans.
Prandelli moved to the national side following Italy’s disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign, where they finished last in a group which contained Paraguay and New Zealand, saying his brief was to “work, work and work, and I seriously believe in rebuilding.”
True to his work Prandelli has devoted time to developing a side that mixes youth with experience and which looks highly motivated to put the World Cup failure to bed.
The coach may have worked on renewing his squad, but one man is still unquestioned in the Italian side: goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The 33-year-old has drawn level with Italian legend Dino Zoff on 112 appearances for his country and will travel to the European Championships after lifting the Serie A title with Juventus in a season in which he conceded just 16 goals in 35 appearances.
Meanwhile the Italians will depend on Andrea Pirlo to pull the strings in midfield. The 32-year-old is now one of the veterans in Prandelli’s increasingly young looking side, but he played in all but one of the qualifying matches and his presence on the pitch continues to give imagination to an Italian midfield, which can look slightly pedestrian and lacking ideas without him.
The main problem for Italy does look as if it is going to be a lack of goals. Antonio Cassano was top scorer for Italy in qualifying, netting six of his side’s 20 goals, but his recent heart problem means that he will not play this summer, for obvious health issues.
That and the knee injury suffered by Villarreal’s Giuseppi Rossi leaves Italy looking short of resources up front and means a lot of responsibility for Manchester City’s talented, but volatile Mario Balotelli.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St Germain)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino)
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris St Germain), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Fabio Borini (AS Roma), Antonio Cassano (AC Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma).
- Italy to meet Germany in semis after beating England (Lead) - Jun 25, 2012
- Euro 2012: Cassano and Balotelli send Italy to quarters - Jun 19, 2012
- Fabregas grabs 1-1 draw for Spain against Italy - Jun 11, 2012
- Lippi's list of 23 Azzurri ready for World Cup - Jun 02, 2010
- Iniesta named player of Euro 2012 - Jul 02, 2012
- Pirlo penalty reminds me of Totti, says De Rossi - Jun 25, 2012
- Euro 2012: Mandzukic strike help Croatia draw 1-1 with Italy (Lead) - Jun 15, 2012
- Italy captain Buffon probed for illegal gambling - Jun 01, 2012
- Juventus beat Catania to top Serie A - Feb 19, 2012
- Buffon to extend Juventus deal - Sep 10, 2012
- Juve, Milan win to keep title race open - Apr 26, 2012
- Euro 2012: Cassano 'fantastic' despite lack of fitness, says Italy coach - Jun 29, 2012
- Buffon saves Totti's penalty to extend Juventus' unbeaten streak - Dec 13, 2011
- Juventus down Napoli 4-2 to win Italian Super Cup - Aug 11, 2012
- AC Milan still winless in Serie A - Sep 22, 2011
Tags: cesare prandelli, dino zoff, euro 2012, fate, gianluigi buffon, italian football, italian side, italian team, june 3, man squad, match fixing scandal, one man, police raid, republic of ireland, riots, search warrant, serbia, training camp, world cup campaign, xinhua