Italy will beat Ireland in their final Euro 2012 Group C match said two-time Champions League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday but if they are to really be a contender they need to find a striker.
The 53-year-old Paris Saint-Germain coach, a two-time European Cup winner as a player, told L'Equipe Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to his mind had got the strategy all wrong in the second-half of the 1-1 draw with Croatia on Thursday.
Italy had looked comfortable after going in at half-time 1-0 up but having missed several chances, which was to prove costly as the Croats levelled in the second-half to put them on four points alongside defending champions Spain.
Italy trail the two of them by two points ahead of the final group games on Monday when they play pointless Ireland and wait to see what happens in the other game.
"During the first-half Italy played well and were very solid," he said.
"But in the second-half they completely changed their philosophy of playing.
"They were more defensive in trying to maintain their lead. That was not a good idea in my opinion.
"For after that the problem for Italy was to score and they do not have a goalscorer at the moment.
"(Mario) Balotelli and (Antonio) Cassano are not scoring enough."
Ancelotti, who was part of the Italy side that reached the 1990 World Cup semi-finals but lost on penalties to Argentina, also didn't believe that the French would be title contenders despite their revival under Laurent Blanc.
"I don't think so," he said.
"Spain are still the favourites. They are the most balanced team.
"Germany are also very strong. I think France (who are joint top of Group D with England) will reach the quarter-finals and I hope Italy as well."
Ancelotti, who took over the PSG job at the end of December and guided them to a second placed finish in Ligue 1, said that two players had especailly impressed him so far.
"The Polish striker (Robert) Lewandowski (scored in Poland's opening 1-1 draw with Greece) is very good, he is very fast," he said.
"I know he had a really good season with Borussia Dortmund but sometimes it is hard to translate that form into a Euro.
"I also like the Croat (Mario) Mandzukic (he has scored three times) who is very physical and also effective with his head."
Cities & Stadiums
The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|Russia / Turkey
|Netherlands / Czech Republic
|Netherlands / Portugal
|France / England
|Netherlands / Sweden
|Italy / West Germany
|Denmark / Portugal