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 Post subject: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been selected as part of Italy's provisional 32-man squad for Euro 2012.

The 21-year-old was left out of the national squad in February after Italy manager Cesare Prandelli deemed his stamp on Tottenham's Scott Parker during a Premier League clash a "breach of team ethics."

His dismissal against Arsenal last month put his place in further doubt.

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ITALY SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Sirigu (Paris St. Germain), Viviano (Palermo).
Defenders: D Abate (Milan), Astori (Cagliari), Balzaretti (Palermo), Barzagli (Juventus) Bocchetti (Rubin Kazan), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg), Maggio (Napoli), Ogbonna (Torino), Ranocchia (Inter);
Midfielders: Cigarini (Atalanta), De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini (Juventus), Marchisio (Juventus), Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris St. Germain), Nocerino (Milan), Pirlo (Juventus),Schelotto (Atalanta), Verratti (Pescara);
Strikers: Balotelli (Manchester City), Borini (Roma), Cassano (Milan), Destro (Siena), Di Natale (Udinese), Giovinco (Parma)

But Balotelli has been picked on the day City won the Premier League title.

The controversial Italian came on as substitute in the 3-2 victory over QPR, laying on Sergio Aguero's decisive injury-time goal.

Balotelli has often courted more attention for his off the field antics rather than the brilliance of his play, but Prandelli says the striker was never out of contention.

"I never really thought of doing this without Balotelli, as he is a focal point of the national team," Prandelli said.

"Have I made peace with Balotelli? Yes, although to be honest we never argued in the first place."

Italy face a tough group at Euro 2012, with matches against world and defending European champions Spain, Ireland and Croatia.

The squad is expected to be trimmed to 23 players later this week.

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Italy's 23-man squad for Euro 2012:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-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 (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus).

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Fabio Borini (Roma), Antonio Cassano (AC Milan), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma).

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Inter defender Ranocchia and Siena forward Destro have been left out by coach Cesare Prandelli.

On Monday, Prandelli was forced to drop Domenico Criscito after the left-back was warned by police he was being probed in a match-fixing investigation.

Centre-back Ranocchia's exclusion means Juventus' Bonucci could well start the Group C opener against holders Spain in Gdansk on June 10.

Bonucci's name has been mentioned in testimony during the match-fixing probe, but he has not been formally put under investigation and has denied wrongdoing.

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Russia piled on the misery for embattled Italy with a 3-0 victory in their international friendly in Zurich's Letzigrund stadium.

Alexander Kerzhakov put the Russians in front on the hour mark, having been denied by the post in the first half.

Roman Shirokov made it 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining and added his second at the death to give the Dick Advocaat-coached team a win in the Euro 2012 warm-up game.

Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli played the entire game but could not find a breakthrough as Italy, who had gone unbeaten in qualifying, slipped to their third straight friendly defeat.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli had wanted a strong performance as his team's game against Luxembourg earlier in the week was cancelled following an earthquake in the northern part of the country.

But the Azzurri struggled defensively and were made to pay in their last game before they take on Spain on June 10.

Italy had a nightmare week, with a match-fixing investigation disrupting their preparations.

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Zinger Of The Day

"Who has a betting scandal in their country?" - Vedran Corluka responds to suggestions that Spain and Croatia could collude to knock Italy out of Euro 2012.

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:25 pm 
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:laugh:

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:41 pm 
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Mario bustin it out

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:14 pm 
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:lol:

He is great entertainment. Must be f**king annoying being his teammate though, and I'd never want him at my team.

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:03 pm 
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Pirlo was always a great player for Milan bar a year or two where he underperformed - I'm still stunned we let him go last year - and naturally it bit us in the nuts at Juve. I'd really like someone better than Silvio Berlusconi to be the owner there :jail:

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The magnificent Pirlo
Paolo Bandini on the brilliant performances of Andrea Pirlo that have seen the Italy midfielder come into contention for the Ballon d'Or

June 29, 2012

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Andrea Pirlo has been in sumptuous form for Italy during Euro 2012© Getty Images

Even Gigi Buffon was awestruck. “When I saw him play, I thought, ‘There is a God’,” the goalkeeper said after watching Andrea Pirlo mark his league debut for Juventus with two assists in a 4-1 win over Parma last September. Nine months later, the rest of the continent is experiencing a similar revelation. With a string of immaculate performances, Pirlo has led Italy to the promised land of a European Championship final.

“The only thing missing now is for [Pirlo] to start multiplying loaves of bread and fish,” a breathless Sebastiano Vernazza declared in Friday’s Gazzetta dello Sport. The midfielder has amply demonstrated his capacity for footballing miracles over the last three weeks – whether it be conjuring a through ball to slice open a Spanish defence that has not conceded since, or on Friday night transforming Germany’s lauded midfield into hapless bystanders.

Following the elimination of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal against Spain, Euro 2012 feels more and more like Pirlo’s tournament – one in which his contributions will be remembered over those of any other individual. Already he has provided a signature moment in the form of the chipped penalty – the ‘cucchiaio’, as they would have it in Italy, or ‘Panenka,’ to the rest of the world – with which he deceived England’s Joe Hart.

Taken on its own, it was an act of impudent genius, a strike to make you gasp or even laugh out loud at its preposterous brilliance. But in the context of a match in which Pirlo had already been brilliant for 120 minutes, it was a gamble of grand proportions, akin to a poker player going all-in pre-flop with a mediocre hand. Had Hart called the bluff then Pirlo, like Roberto Baggio in 1994, would have departed as an undeserving scapegoat. Instead, England folded.

From Pirlo’s perspective it was a calculated risk. Such a tactic has backfired on him before, with Jose Manuel Pinto standing his ground and plucking his shot out of the air during the pre-season Gamper Trophy meeting between Barcelona and Milan in August 2010. This time the midfielder felt he had a read on his opponent. “I noticed Hart was doing strange dances on the goalline,” Pirlo told reporters. “He was moving before [the penalties were taken].”

But if Pirlo believes his spot-kick turned the tide of the shootout, Italy must thank him more for the fact they were able to reach that point. As well as providing the assist for Antonio Di Natale against Spain, it was he who struck Italy’s only goal against Croatia, before delivering the corner from which Antonio Cassano opened the scoring against Ireland.

More than that, he had dictated the tempo for the Azzurri – a fixed point at the heart of the side. Before the semi-final, Bastian Schweinsteiger named Pirlo as the Italian player he’d most like to have join him at Bayern Munich. The Germany manager, Joachim Low, also identified Pirlo as the one his team must restrict to succeed.

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Pirlo executed a gorgeous Panenka penalty against England© PA Photos

Instead, Pirlo finished the night with more touches than any other Italian player as well as the highest number of completed passes (70) on his team. If Mario Balotelli was the star of the show then this was a production that would not have come together without Pirlo’s expert direction. The newspaper La Repubblica described him as “our on-pitch manager”.

Germany could not stand accused, as England were, of failing to devote adequate resources to restricting Pirlo, with Tony Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Schweinsteiger and even Mario Gomez all adjusting their games in a bid to restrict his space in midfield. The simple truth is that he is just not that easy to contain. All season, Juventus’ Serie A rivals have been concocting schemes to counter the midfielder. Very few have succeeded.

Schweinsteiger, while praising Pirlo before the game, had adopted a disparaging tone when referring to his age, suggesting a 33-year-old could hardly be unstoppable. Yet if it would seem logical that Pirlo’s modest mobility should make him easy to contain then the truth is that in some ways age has rendered him more effective rather than less. Never particularly blessed with pace in his younger years, Pirlo is smarter now about how to make up for it.

There is a sense, too, that Pirlo is enjoying defying his critics – drawing fresh motivation from the speed with which many wrote him off after a difficult 2010-11 season at Milan in which, hindered by injury, he struggled to even get into Massimiliano Allegri’s side. Had he needed any fresh ammunition for the semi-final, he might have got it too from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writer who insisted Germany could not fear a player who “doesn’t just have hair like a girl but a name like a girl too.”

Instead of being consigned to the scrapheap, he is now being discussed as an increasingly realistic candidate for the Ballon d’Or, having already been the single most important performer in a Juventus side who went from consecutive seventh-place finishes to unbeaten champions following his arrival. Lionel Messi will be the favourite after another record-shattering season at Barcelona, but were Pirlo to lead Italy past Spain on Sunday, his case could become compelling.

Not that Pirlo himself is convinced. “It’s impossible to get ahead of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo,” he responded when the prospect was put to him this week. “Those two are a way ahead of everyone. There is no discussion.”

Others would beg to differ, not least the numerous team-mates who have publicly backed his case over the past few days. Part of that is borne out of sentimentality too, of course. Much as with Martin Scorsese before his Oscar award for The Departed in 2006, some feel that Pirlo might also just be overdue the recognition.

Either way, for now Pirlo has only one goal in mind. “We came here to win the European Championship,” he insisted in the immediate aftermath of victory over Germany. “It is time to turn our heads to Spain. I want a great final.” If he can simply maintain the performances shown so far at this tournament, it is hard to see how it wouldn’t be.
© ESPN

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:08 am 
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Marchisio: Spain are strong, but we know how to beat them

Azzurri midfielder insists his side will be able to overcome La Roja in Sunday's showpiece after holding them to a 1-1 draw in their group stage opener


Martin Langer - goal.com


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Claudio Marchisio - Italy - Getty Images



EXCLUSIVE Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio has insisted that the Azzurri have the know-how to beat Spain in Sunday's Euro 2012 final.

The two sides opened their campaign in Poland and Ukraine against each other with a 1-1 draw and the Juventus man believes that match stands Italy in good stead.

"Spain are an extremely strong team," he told Goal.com. "But we already faced them in the group stage and we know how to beat them, I will not say how, but you'll see on the pitch."

Cesare Prandelli's men have surprised some by making the final and Marchisio believes that pre-tournament doubts only served to make the squad more determined to succeed.

He continued: "I think nobody expected us to play as we have done. We were strongly criticised before the tournament, after losing to Russia, and after that even in the tournament when we drew against Croatia.

"What we were asking was that there was a balance in the press coverage of our team, we knew that all was not well, but we wanted the people to trust us.

"But that also served to unite the group in this tournament and that was in the end the great strength of this team and since then we have transformed these criticisms into praise."

The side also went into Euro 2012 on the back of the Scommessopoli investigation that saw squad member Domenico Criscito arrested and subsequently dropped from the squad and the Juventus player insisted that the Azzurri were determined to ignore the situation.

"What we tried was to concentrate on the tournament because the last thing we wanted was the environment within the group to rot," he explained.

"After two years of great sacrifice, it would have been a shame if that happened, and in that sense the lads have been fantastic. And well, we are a bit used to those scandals before the big competitions, it is not the first time and we always show the character, that's very typical of Italians."

The midfielder revealed the squad had not been fully confident at the start of the tournament but the side had been buoyed by their qualification from Group C and then their quarter-final win over England.

"Confidence has been increasing gradually," Marchisio explained. "One game at time, tournaments the size of the Euro tend to change in minutes. And so it happened to us, we suffered in the group stage in the match against Ireland but then we qualified and that changed everything.

"That freed us so we could start playing with the confidence we needed. Against England we won on penalties, but we dominated the match and then against Germany played very well, increasingly convinced that we could achieve our goal."

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:15 am 
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Di Canio v Balotelli would be madness :icecream:

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Di Canio blasts 'selfish' Mario

Paolo Di Canio feels Mario Balotelli 'deserves a lot of slaps' rather than pats on the shoulder because he plays for himself, not the team.

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Balotelli: Di Canio not impressed

Italy and Manchester City striker Balotelli performed well at Euro 2012 as he scored three goals, including two in the semi-final victory over Germany.

Italy eventually finished as runners-up after losing 4-0 to Spain, but Di Canio does not believe Balotelli should feel too good about himself.

The Swindon manager was more impressed by Antonio Cassano and feels Balotelli needs to learn to be more of a team player.

"Balotelli is just selfish. He deserves a lot of slaps," fellow Italian Di Canio is quoted as saying in The Sun.

"Against Germany he did two good things but in the end I saw a player who was just waiting to celebrate.

"Balotelli does not play for the team, only for himself.

"He is an egotist, who thinks the world revolves around him.

"Guys like Balotelli deserve lots of slaps rather than pats on the shoulder. Antonio Cassano led the team to the final."

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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:19 am 
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Di Canio calling someone an egotist is a bit rich isn't it?

Also, I wonder why Di Canio has chosen to single out Balottelli :hitler:


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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:26 am 
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JSP wrote:
Di Canio calling someone an egotist is a bit rich isn't it?

Also, I wonder why Di Canio has chosen to single out Balottelli :hitler:


People obviously weren't paying him enough attention, so he's gotta stir it up a bit

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You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Azzurri Italiano
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:40 am 
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He certainly likes the word "slap" - he's a real slapper!

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