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Prandelli: The match against Croatia will be decisive
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by Goal.com

Prandelli: The match against Croatia will be decisive

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes that his side are in a must-win situation going into Thursday's Euro 2012 contest against Croatia.

The Azzurri kicked off their campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against defending champions Spain, and will now lock horns with Slaven Bilic's men, who defeated Republic of Ireland 3-1 to jump to the top of Group C.

"We have not solved our problems, we only fielded a team which could fight for every ball," Prandelli told reporters at a press conference.

"This will be a match decided by details, but also by the mentality and physical condition of the players.

"We have two days to prepare for this match, which I believe will be the decisive game of the group.

"My plan is not to make many changes but to continue with the same plan, but first I will need to have a full report on the physical condition of every player."

Prandelli then played down the criticism targeted at Mario Balotelli, who cut a frustrated figure against Spain before being replaced by Antonio Di Natale.

"Balotelli is a 21-year-old boy who is on the road to find maturity," the Italian coach explained. "What I ask from him is to play simple, he must not try to win us the match every time he has the ball.

"In some moments, he played simple, but in others he worried too much about finding his position."

Questioned about who will lead the attack against Croatia, Prandelli said: "Right now, I do not know.

"First, we must decide how we will take on Croatia. They are a great side. When we decide this, then I will decide which striker will start."

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia