Prandelli doesn't fear Spain
Cesare Prandelli believes Italy have improved since facing Spain earlier in Euro 2012 and can exploit any weaknesses to emerge triumphant.
Last Updated: 30/06/12 11:09am
Cesare Prandelli believes Italy have improved since facing Spain in their opening match of Euro 2012 and can exploit any weaknesses to emerge triumphant in Sunday's final.
The Azzurri held Spain to a 1-1 draw in Group C before scraping into the quarter-finals following another draw against Croatia and victory over Republic of Ireland.
They have since beaten England and Germany to take their place in the final, and Prandelli is now looking forward to renewing the rivalry with Spain.
Prandelli has the utmost respect for Vicente del Bosque's side and recognises that it will be tough to overcome a team who have won two major tournaments in a row.
However, he says his players will not be afraid of their opponents and is confident of success.
"We are physically and mentally stronger than when we faced them in our opening game," said Prandelli.
"We only have one day to prepare for this game but we will try to find Spain's weaknesses.
"They are the world and European champions and they are an example to everyone, but we have grown and we should not fear them.
"We have to have the strength to face them with ideas and quality."
One of the factors behind Italy's charge to the final has been the fine form of Mario Balotelli, and Prandelli says he is enjoying the challenge of coaching such a player.
"I have coached Adriano, (Adrian) Mutu, (Antonio) Cassano and Balotelli," Prandelli said in a press conference.
"They are difficult to manage but it's more fascinating. In the end, they are more faithful than those (players) who think they are champions when they aren't. They are players that have quality and make you win."
Speaking about Balotelli, Prandelli added: "He has enormous potential. He has a good coach in (Manchester City manager Roberto) Mancini, who will help him grow."
Prandelli knows Balotelli will be fired up for Sunday's final - Italy's third in the continental competition and their first since 2000.
"Mario wants to repeat his performance against Germany on Sunday," Prandelli said. "I replaced him with 20 minutes to go against Germany because I feared he had pulled a muscle.
"Fortunately, it was just a cramp."