Wednesday, 18 June 2008

[Euro 2008] Donadoni expects 'tough' Spain

Italy coach Roberto Donadoni admits his team face a tough test against Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, but insists they are capable of beating anyone.

Italy won their first match of the tournament against France yesterday, but they had fortune on their side as Romania lost 2-0 to the Netherlands and France suffered an early injury to Franck Ribery as well as going down to 10 men.

But while that result has helped to ease some of the pressure on Donadoni, the 44-year-old knows Spain are likely to provide a bigger challenge on Sunday.

"I don't know if you can say it is the worst draw, but they are tough," he said.

"If you don't start brightly against them, you will always be playing second fiddle. They are complicated opponents."

But, after that first victory, he insists the Azzurri are capable of getting another result and progressing to the semi-finals.

"I didn't have any doubts. I was convinced this was a team that could beat anyone," he said.

"I don't know if Italy will go right to the end. I only know that we carry on until Sunday.

"This is the objective - the only one."

One problem for Italy may be the form of their strikers, who have failed to score a single goal so far despite having plenty of opportunities to open their accounts.

Yet Donadoni believes it is simply the result of exhaustion and that all forwards will be feeling the effects of last season.

"I believe we are in the period of the season where it is not easy," he said.

"After a long, hard season, it is a lot easier for defenders than attackers."

The squad had a rest day at their Baden camp near Vienna today before full preperations begin for the quarter-final tie on Thursday.

All of Italy's group stage games were played in Switzerland, but the Azzurri will play Spain in Austria for the first time at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna. If the World champions progress further, both the semi-final tie and the final will also be played in the Austrian capital.

Meanwhile, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have released the full itinerary for the national team in the build up to the quarter-final tie, with dates and times to press conferences, media and sponsor events, travel and match arrangements, training and other delegation duties that will take place.

Events, dates and times may change at short notice. All times listed are UK time (+1hr for Italy/Switzerland/Austria/CET).

Wednesday 18 June 2008
Full day - Rest, recovery and relaxation.

Thursday 19 June 2008
10:00 - Training (open to the press). Press conference will follow held by the players at the Casa Azzurri.

Friday 20 June 2008
11:00 approx. - Press conference will be held by the players at the Casa Azzurri.
16:30 - Training (open to the press for the first 15 minutes).

Saturday 21 June 2008
Afternoon - Bus departing from Baden to Vienna.
17:00 - Training at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna. Coach Roberto Donadoni and players will meet the press after.

Sunday 22 June 2008
19:45 - Spain v Italy at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna. Coach Roberto Donadoni and players will meet the press after and make the return trip to their base in Baden.

Source: Sky Sports / FIGC

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