Friday, 15 August 2008

[Olympics] Confidence in Italian camp

Italy's Olympic coach Pierluigi Casiraghi and midfield star Riccardo Montolivo are confident ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final against Belgium.

Italy 3-0 South KoreaThe Azzurri topped Group D with comfortable 3-0 wins over Honduras and South Korea and a goalless draw with Cameroon.

Casiraghi's men avoided playing Brazil in the last eight and are favourites to advance against fellow Europeans Belgium.

"Belgium will be a little tired and when the athletic condition starts to drop, it is the team with more quality that emerge as winners," Casiraghi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We are not lacking in that department – we have every belief in our abilities."

After the group matches in Qinhuangdao and Tianjin, Italy's football team have only just moved into the Casa Italia in the Olympic village in Beijing and it seems to have inspired Fiorentina's Montolivo.

"Now we are living in the Olympic climate with all the athletes on the same level," he enthused.

"There is a different atmosphere and all the different sportsmen are all around talking."

The Azzurri received some harsh press following their dour 0-0 draw with Cameroon, but Montolivo is unfazed.

"Remember the first two games? That’s how we like to play and if we do we can achieve great things and go far," he insisted.

"We have a good feeling and we believe we can reach our target. These are tense moments for us, but also great ones."

The Italian side will be without Tommaso Rocchi and Claudio Marchisio, who have returned home with injuries.

But Belgium are also missing key men because Hamburg defender Vincent Kompany and Standard Liege midfielder Marouanne Fellaini have been forced to return to their clubs.

The quarter-final kicks off at 1100 UK time (+1hr for Italy/CET) on Saturday.

Italy (probable): Viviano, Motta, Coda, Bocchetti, Criscito, Montolivo, Cigarini, Nocerino, Rossi, Giovinco, Acquafresca.


Source: C4 Football Italia

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