Monday, 16 June 2008

[Euro 2008] Italy ready to unleash Cassano

With their Euro 2008 hopes hanging by a thread Italy may be about to turn to Antonio Cassano.

The erratic Sampdoria playmaker has made substitute appearances in the Azzurri's two Group C fixtures to date, but is in line to be handed a starting role in a must-win tie against France on Tuesday.

The World champions have found the target just once in the tournament so far, and even that was scored by defender Christian Panucci.

The unpredictable talents of Cassano may be just what Roberto Donadoni's side require as they look to secure a quarter-final spot, especially as the forward appears to have mellowed slightly during an impressive 2007/08 season with Samp.

It was his recent resurgence in Serie A which earned him a recall to the Azzurri side after two years in the wilderness, and Donadoni admits that he is tempted to use his wild card against the French.

"It's a possibility," said the Italy coach.

"I will not rule out the possibility of playing Cassano."

The former Roma and Real Madrid man is desperate for an opportunity to prove his worth, and team-mate Giorgio Chiellini revealed that Cassano has looked mightily impressive in training.

"He really wants to do something, he's been really switched on in training," said the Juventus defender.

"And you have to admit that when he came on in the previous games he made an impact."

In order to qualify Italy must beat France and hope the already-qualified Netherlands avoid defeat against Romania. A score draw will be enough for Donadoni's side if the Romanians are beaten in their game.

A goalless draw would also be enough to see the Azzurri through, but only if the Dutch beat Romania 3-0 or by a 4-goal margin.

Source: Sky Sports

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