Prandelli calls for spirit of Euro 2012

Cesare Prandelli
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has cemented his reputation as a coach of some stature after a strong showing at Euro 2012. Photo: PA

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has challenged his players to build on the form shown during Euro 2012 ahead of tomorrow's friendly international with England in Berne.

Prandelli has emulated his England counterpart, Roy Hodgson, in naming an unproven squad for the re-match of their Euro quarter-final which Italy won on penalties.

Italy eventually reached the final before losing 4-0 to Spain but Prandelli is looking for the Azzurri to carry on where they left off ahead of the World Cup in Brazil in two years time.

He said: "We're ready to start the new season with a lot of enthusiasm and we want to do well. I've seen in the eyes of my players that they want to get off to a good start.

"We want to continue down the path we forged at the European Championships, now that we've gained more credibility.

"The objective is to keep playing our game but with more finesse in the execution. We want to make an impact in the game at Berne, a team that knows exactly what to do, and when."

Prandelli knows his side have to show more of a cutting edge and they spurned several gilt-edged chances against England before winning the spot-kick shoot-out.

He said: "I want to see players with different characteristics who we can assess with the future in mind.

"The plan is to prepare for the next two years, starting from now, by working out which young players are ready to make the grade.

"That is the challenge against England, and it is a big one. We must raise the bar by enriching an already quality pool of players.

"What I expect is to continue down the path of getting results, but with more brilliance and conviction in the final third. To achieve this end we must focus on our attack."

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will miss the game after contracting conjunctivitis and has been replaced by Diego Fabbrini.

But Prandelli has assured Balotelli that he has a big part to play in Italy's future.

He said: "We were hoping Mario would recover in time, but it wasn't to be.

"I want to give him a key role in the long term and I expect him to accept responsibility when I do."

England have only James Milner and Ashley Young available of the side beaten by Italy in Kiev while the Azzurri have included only three of the players on duty that evening.