GDANSK, Poland (AFP) –
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says his team need to keep cool heads when they’re under pressure late on in a game.
Italy earned a creditable 1-1 draw with European and world champions Spain in their opening Group C match at the European Championship.
After having the better of the first half they came under increasing pressure in the second period and at times late on were hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
They took a 61st-minute lead through Antonio Di Natale before Cesc Fabregas equalised just three minutes later.
But towards the end of the game they were allowing the Spaniards chances at an alarming rate.
And it is then that Prandelli says he needs cool heads.
“When you’re struggling to get hold of the ball you have to be compact and you need reason not anger,” he said.
“When you’re tired, those who play with anger get in trouble.”
Italy are unlikely to face as stern a challenge in their next two group games against Croatia and then Ireland but the coach believes they can still improve.
But mostly, after his players worked so hard against Spain, he wants them to recover physically before they play Croatia – who opened their campaign with a 3-1 win over Ireland – in Poznan on June 14.
“We still have a lot of work to do, we’ll analyse this game, every game has its individual story and you need to prepare for it in a certain way,” he said.
“I hope we get all our players back to 100 percent.”
Although Spain may well be expected to win their next two games, which would make this a point gained for Italy, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says it hasn’t changed much for his side.
“We played against a very good team but the result doesn’t change much in terms of the table,” he said.
“It was a good game, a good result but the truth is it doesn’t change anything from before.”
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque caused a stir by announcing a starting line-up without a recognised forward.
However, Spain did look more dangerous once Fernando Torres had joined the fray in place of Fabregas.
The Chelsea striker missed two clear chances though, the first when he overran the ball to Buffon and the second when he shot instead of playing in the better placed Jesus Navas.
But Torres – who had a torrid time at Chelsea last season – insisted that his mistakes were not due to a lack of confidence and were simply part of football.
“In the first chance (Buffon) was more ready than me, he touched it (the ball) with his heel, we see that on the replay, but that’s football” said Torres.
“It’s unfortunate and we all feel it inside but we hope next time it will go in.”
Although he was hoping to start, Torres insisted he was just happy to have got some game-time.
“I’m happy for this moment. I felt good and I hope that I’ll play in the next game so that I can do what the boss asks of me and that I can score my first goal in this Euros.”
Fabregas admitted he was surprised to be in the first 11 but said he has the ability to play in a variety of positions and therefore he was always hopeful.
“There was always this possibility and I always thought I could play,” he said.
“I believe I’m able to play in a variety of positions. It was a surprise to see that I was in the 11 but the important thing is the team.”