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Prandelli ready to surprise at Euro 2012

9 May 2012 18:22

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is not expecting his team to feature at the business end of Euro 2012.

Injuries and form slumps will see several of Italy's best players missing from the provisional 30-man squad for this year's tournament when it is named on Sunday.

Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi succumbed to a knee injury while Milan's Antonio Cassano has only recently returned to the field following heart surgery.

"Our potential has been decreased by 50 percent, but I'm not worried and I'll have to improvise," he told Corriere della Sera.

"Our desire to surprise has to be stronger than our difficulties. We shouldn't forget that you can find some nice surprises in the most difficult moments.

"We have the time to prepare for our first game against Spain. Even if the fact that Barcelona and Real Madrid didn't make the Champions League final makes Spain more dangerous.

"Croatia are a tough team too, with a very competitive midfield and attack. They'll be a hard obstacle to get over. Then there is Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland."

Prandelli indicated that wayward Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was likely to make the squad, though he ruled out call-ups for experienced attackers Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti.

Cassano and Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale are also expected to make the cut.

"There will not be any surprises in the squad. Totti and Del Piero? Like I've said before, I'll only consider them in an emergency," he said.

"I prefer to give younger players such as Roma's Fabio Borini a chance.

"Cassano has proved that he loves the national shirt and he did all that he could to recover full fitness as soon as possible. He put pressure on the medics so that he could return to give us a helping hand.

"I'll challenge anyone to argue that Toto Di Natale doesn’t deserve the national side. He's scored almost 100 goals in three years and he can help us.

"Balotelli can't afford to make any more mistakes, but I'm confident that he won't. We need to give players with talent an extra chance and there's no doubt that he's a special talent.

"I disagree with anyone who argues that Toto Di Natale doesn't deserve to be in the squad. He has scored almost 100 goals in three years and can be very helpful for us."

Italy are drawn with Spain, Republic of Ireland and Croatia in Group C at Euro 2012.

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