Prandelli expects no Irish presents

Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 01:00

ITALY COACH Cesare Prandelli expects no favours from the Republic of Ireland when the sides meet on Monday in Poznan. While the game has no tournament significance for an already eliminated Ireland, it is clearly a defining one for Italy, who can still make it to the quarter-finals.

Prandelli said yesterday Irish pride and the professionalism of manager Giovanni Trapattoni would mean Ireland will still be very motivated, adding: “I played under Trap. I know him well and I know he has too much respect for his profession, I’m not expecting any presents from Ireland.

“They come into this game with nothing to lose. It’s not true to say they are without motivation. If I know Trap, then they will want to finish the tournament well after their disappointments so far. We’ll have to work very hard to get a result here . . . ”

Asked about media speculation that group rivals Spain and Croatia might return a “political” 2-2 draw which would see them both through at the expense of Italy, no matter how many goals Italy might score against Ireland, Prandelli was dismissive:

“We’re talking here about the world and European champions . . . If we start imagining a fix between Spain and Croatia, then frankly, we’re just sick . . . ”

Meanwhile, Euro 2012 was plunged into another racism row yesterday after it emerged a banana may have been thrown at Mario Balotelli. Uefa confirmed they were “looking into” reports a photographer saw a steward retrieving a banana from the pitch during Italy’s clash with Croatia on Thursday.

The Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe) network also announced their observers heard 300 to 500 Croatia fans chanting monkey noises at Balotelli.

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