Euro 2012 daily update: Tuesday 27 June
Italy manager unhappy with Italy’s extra time preparations, Mesut Ozil confident of progressing past Italy, Bacary Sagna laments “avoidable” infighting and UEFA charge Spain and Russia fans with improper conduct
• Italy manager Cesare Prandelli is unhappy that Germany will have two more days to prepare for their semi-final clash. Prandelli said: “It’s a problem that Uefa must consider for the next European Championship. To play a semi with this small gap does not help the spectacle.”
• Mesut Ozil expects Germany to progress past Italy so long as they play to their potential, the Real Madrid playmaker has said. However, Ozil was quick to talk up the qualities of Germany’s semi-final opponents. “Italy are very strong, they are technically superbly organised. Even against the reigning world champions Spain they had a fantastic game in the group stages. They’re absolutely rightly there where they belong.”
• Teamwork and tactics will be the key to stifling Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Spain defender Gerard Pique has said. The Barcelona centre-back said that a “collective effort” was required to stop the Real Madrid winger from affecting the game. Meanwhile, Spain midfielder Xavi has backed team-mate Alvaro Arbeloa to snuff out Ronaldo’s threat. The Barcelona midfielder said: “We have a great full-back in Arbeloa, who is among the best out there defensively speaking. We’ll try to cover for him, to make sure Ronaldo doesn’t settle and we don’t let him turn.”
• Cristiano Ronaldo has said he does not feel the pressure ahead of Portugal’s semi-final against Spain. Of the match that Cesc Fabregas yesterday compared to the El Clasico derby between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Ronaldo said: “These games are part of my life. I have to be used to them. Responsibility yes, pressure no.”
• Bacary Sagna has lamented the infighting with led to France’s ignominious quarter-final exit. Sagna, who did not travel with the squad due to injury, said the infighting was “avoidable” and that it was “a waste of a competition”. It is understood that the French FA may meet to discuss disciplinary action against members of the squad, including Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri.
• UEFA have instigated disciplinary proceedings against the Spanish and Russian football federations for the behaviour of their fans, who are alleged to have engaged in racist behaviour and racist chanting. The charges relate to incidents at Spain’s match against Italy on Sunday 10 June and Russia’s game against Czech Republic Friday 8 June.
• Russia footballl association chief executive Sergei Fursenko has left his post after a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two, who are reported to be close friends, reportedly discussed Russia’s poor showing at the Euros, having failed to progress beyond the group stages.
ONE TO WATCH - Alvaro Arbeloa
Tomorrow will see Spain full-back Alvaro Arbeloa enter one of the toughest games of his career - marking Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain has been in fine form throughout this tournament, but it would not be unreasonable to suggest that Arbeloa may have the measure of Ronaldo - they train together regularly as club teammates and have faced eachother while plying their trades in England, for Liverpool and Manchester United respectively.
Cristiano Ronaldo has made a total of 29 attempts on goal - the most at a European Championship finals since 1980.
MEMORABLE GOALS OF EUROS PAST
Andrea Pirlo penalty enthusiasts will lap this one up - Czechoslovakia’s Antonin Panenka’s deftly chipped spot kick against West Germany sealed the Czech’s first and only European Championship success.
Mario Gomez to finish top scorer: 15/8
Cristiano Ronaldo to finish top scorer: 2/1
Fernando Torres to finish top scorer: 11/2
Mario Balotelli to finish top scorer: 50/1
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