Diamanti to remain on Italy bench against Germany

Despite the Bologna forward's impressive performance in the quarter-final win, his coach has signalled that his key creative players will retain their places for the semis
Italy penalty-hero Alessandro Diamanti will have to wait for his spot in the Azzurri starting line-up, despite his winning spot-kick in the Euro 2012 quarter-final victory against England on Sunday evening.

The Bologna trequartista, who spent the 2009-10 season in the Premier League with West Ham United, had a positive impact on the match having replaced Antonio Cassano as a substitute, hitting the post during extra-time and providing Italy with creative spark.

However, despite the 29-year-old's cameo appearance, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has today indicated that he remains down the pecking order, ahead of Thursday's semi-final against Germany, given the importance of Cassano and midfielder Riccardo Montolivo in helping Andrea Pirlo as Italy's creators-in-chief.

Speaking to reporters, Prandelli said: "When you think of Diamanti, you have to think of replacing Cassano and Montolivo. All the balls that Pirlo touched were in part thanks to Montolivo."

The Italy boss was also full of praise for Mario Balotelli, who, despite his inability to find the net during 120 minutes against England, impressed the former Fiorentina boss.

"I liked his display a lot because he did what I asked him to do. Obviously, with four or five chances he lacked luck and conviction. But his performance was very, very sufficient," Prandelli said.