Prandelli admits he is considering dropping Balotelli in favour of di Natale
Antonio Cassano believes Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will continue his attacking approach as the Azzurri tackle Croatia in their second European Championship Group ‘C' match, here on Thursday.
Italy surprised many people with its positive performance in a 1-1 draw against World champion Spain on Sunday.
Cassano said a return to the traditional “catenaccio” (door-bolt) style of the past is not an option under Prandelli.
“From the first day, Prandelli's style has always been to attack,” said the 29-year-old AC Milan forward. “He's changed his system, but his style is always to have possession and to attack.
“Against Spain we did it less because they had a lot of the ball, but you saw the same idea, it didn't change from attacking.”
Cassano himself is the man who leads the line, but many are wondering who will play alongside him.
Mario Balotelli got the nod against Spain, but played poorly and was replaced just before the half-hour mark by Antonio di Natale, who scored the opener.
Prandelli has admitted he is considering dropping Balotelli in favour of di Natale.
“The important thing is that I play,” Cassano joked. “Whoever (Prandelli) chooses, the problem would be if they both played and not me!”
Italy needs a victory to ensure it tackles Ireland in its final group game with its destiny in its own hands. Failure to beat Croatia would mean Italy should defeat Ireland in its final game in Poznan and hope the result between Spain and Croatia does not cost it.
The importance of this match has not been lost on Prandelli. “This will be the decisive match of the group. The idea is not to change too much so that we have consistency,” he said.
“Before thinking about how to tackle Croatia, we have to study them well,” he said. “When we decide on how to tackle this team, we will decide on the forwards.”
The pressure is on Italy as it plays an opponent which has two more points.
Cassano is wary of the threat posed by Luka Modric. “Their main strength of course is Modric, he's the best of the Croatians and is a great player,” he said.
“We'll play like we did against Spain, we'll go for a result. We'll play well and try to win the game to seal qualification.”
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic says his side only needs one more win to reach the quarterfinals. “We have three points and we're on top of the group,” said Bilic.
“One win would be enough to go to the quarterfinals. We cannot fly in the championship, but let's go step by step. We respect all of our opponents.
“We have no fear against anyone. Spain and Italy are favourites in our group, but I still think we will be able to beat one of them.”