Donadoni: Italy can beat anyone
"I didn't have any doubts. We have a team which can beat anyone," said Donadoni as he assessed the Azzurri's achievement, sealed with Tuesday's 2-0 win over France. "We suffered. We made some mikstakes but even after the match against the Dutch I saw positive things," Donadoni said at a press conference in Baden, Austria.
Italy, who survived after keeper Gianluigi Buffon saved a crucial penalty in the draw against Romania, will face old rivals Spain in the quarters on Sunday in Vienna.
And the Italians will start as many people's favourites, despite the good Spanish form shown here, as the "squadra azzura" beat them in quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1934 and 1994 and have not lost to Spain in a major competition in 88 years.
Donadoni has been in the firing line since the opening-day loss to the Dutch threatened to derail the hopes of the Azzurri, who unluckily crasdhed out of EURO 2004 ion the opening phase and hence were desperate to avoid a repeat.
And he hit back at his critics.
"I don't expect to change the reasoning and opinions of whoever. I just say people should be fair," he told reporter. "Criticism of a technical nature is quite acceptable - I was just disappointed when the attacks became personal. Everyone is free to think what he wants. I just remain serene and try to do as well as I can."
After the Dutch game some Italian commentators went so far as to demand Donadoni step aside to allow predecessor Marcello Lippi to take the hotseat afresh.