Soccer / Euro 2012 / Prandelli happy with draw after Spanish surprise
Substitute Antonio Di Natale puts the Azzurri ahead on the hour mark moments after coming on.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli thought the 1-1 draw with Spain in their Euro 2012 Group C opener Sunday was a fair result but rued letting the holders, who started without a striker, get back into the game so quickly.
Substitute Antonio Di Natale put the Azzurri ahead on the hour mark moments after coming on, but Cesc Fabregas soon hit back for Spain, who introduced Fernando Torres late on and could have snatched the win if the striker had been sharper.
"The draw was fair. We need to improve," Prandelli told a news conference. "We really tried to press the Spaniards from the start of their attacks. We tried to avoid one on ones and for 60-70 minutes I think we played very well at the back. What disappoints me was that we allowed them to equalize very quickly. We should have made them work harder to get back into the game. The problem we had with Torres is that we gave him the ball twice. We caused problems for ourselves."
Prandelli, who raised eyebrows himself by handing a debut to Emanuele Giaccherini at left wing back in a new 3-5-2 formation, had expected Torres to start.
"We were a little surprised that there was no striker but we decided to play as we had planned," added the coach, whose side had lost their last three friendlies.
Mario Balotelli had a fitful game and was replaced by Di Natale soon after running clear on goal but failing to shoot or pass before being tackled.
"When he missed that chance I already had decided to bring on Di Natale. We needed to be a bit better going forward, it was not a punishment at all," Prandelli said. "I just wanted one of the strikers to go deeper. Mario just has to remember how he created that chance, he pressed, won the ball back and created it."
Beckenbauer upset with UEFA about rules, threatens walk-out
Franz Beckenbauer threatened to walk out of a FIFA commission on soccer rules if recommendations are ignored by UEFA as at Euro 2012 in the case of red-carded Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Szczesny was sent off by Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo in the tournament opener on Friday against Greece for bringing down a Greek player Dimitris Salpingidis in a last-man foul which also resulted in a penalty.
The German icon Beckenbauer said in his column for today's edition of the Bild daily that the FIFA Task Force he heads wants this double punishment ended in the case of such more harmless offenses, but that the according recommendations are ignored by the European body UEFA.
"It makes no sense to work in a FIFA commission to improve the rules if our proposals are ignored in such a way. I am considering retiring," Beckenbauer said in Bild. "We made a recommendation to end this [double punishment]. I am upset with UEFA which forces the referees to an unjust interpretation of the rules. Only awarding a penalty would have been the just decision [in the Euro game]. To me this means: FIFA and UEFA are working against each other."
Archbishop: late John Paul II helped Poland save penalty
John Paul II used divine intervention to help reserve goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton save a penalty for Poland at their opening Euro 2012 game against Greece, according to Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.
"In my soul, I thanked the Holy Father because I believe deeply that he helped him in that moment," the archbishop wrote on his blog, in reference to the late Polish pope, for whom he served as private secretary for four decades.
"I supported him in my head and in my prayers, with all my strength. It was a great relief when I found out he saved it."
The save kept Poland from a humiliating defeat as co-hosts and helped end the game with a 1-1 draw.
"Luckily the heavens supported our team and maybe the draw was a fair result," Dziwisz wrote. "Let's remember that a draw is not a setback. I think this is a fair score."
Dziwisz said a higher power would be also needed to help Poland in their match against Russia tomorrow.
"Since this morning, I'm already thinking of the Tuesday match with Russia," Dziwisz said. "It will require not only strength and valor, but maybe divine providence, especially after what the Russians showed in the match against the Czech Republic."