Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is expecting his team to dominate possession against the Faroe Islands at the Stadio Artemio Franchi tomorrow. And the former Fiorentina coach, who spent the last five years guiding La Viola in this very stadium, believes that this should help his reconstructed team to develop more quickly.
Prandelli has completely overhauled the team and squad that his predecessor Marcello Lippi had faith in, bringing players like Antonio Cassano back in from the cold and promoting a host of new names to the international set-up.
And he believes that beginning his UEFA EURO 2012 qualification campaign against some of the continent's minnows can only help. On Friday, Italy, 11th in the FIFA World Rankings, beat the world 94th ranked Estonia 2-1 in Tallinn and tomorrow they host a team considered the 118th best in the world.
"In Tallin we had 75 percent of possession and in theory we should also have this amount of the ball tomorrow, hence having a lot of the ball allows you to construct your game and make things happen and that's important," Prandelli said today. "The more time we can spend together and work together on the pitch, the more we will develop our pride and desire to win and with that the desire to collaborate will grow."
Prandelli also believes it will be an emotional experience for him to be back so soon at the stadium he called home for so many years, although he said he won't know just how emotional it will be until he gets out onto the pitch.
"Emotions are spontaneous, it's impossible to know now what I will feel, I won't know that until tomorrow night," he added before dismissing any concerns that some local fans embittered by his choice to leave the club will jeer him or the team. "Absolutely not, I've no fear of that because I'm convinced that everyone will come to the stadium to watch the team and celebrate a great night of sport, I have faith in the Fiorentina fans."
Prandelli has announced several changes to the team from the one that lined up in Tallinn, most notably in goal where Emiliano Viviano of Bologna will get the nod over Palermo's Salvatore Sirigu. But Prandelli denied that was because Sirigu was at fault for Estonia's goal in Tallinn. "From the beginning we always wanted to give both goalkeepers a chance because we felt they're at the same level so (Viviano) will play," he said.
The other changes will be at full-back where Luca Antonelli and Fiorentina's Lorenzo De Silvestri replace Cristian Molinaro and Mattia Cassani. There will be some turnover as well up front with Alberto Gilardino coming in for Giampaolo Pazzini and Giuseppe Rossi, if fit, replacing Simone Pepe.