Capello: Pirlo makes the difference for Italy

The former England boss is impressed with the Azzurri midfielder, and sees the Juventus playmaker as the team's undisputed star
Fabio Capello has taken the time to praise Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo following his stellar performances against Spain and Croatia at Euro 2012.

The Juventus playmaker provided the assist for the opening goal in the Azzurri's 1-1 draw versus the titleholders last Sunday, and scored an exquisite free-kick in the stalemate with Croatia on Thursday.

"The player who has made the difference is [Andrea] Pirlo," Capello stated to

"Pirlo makes the difference but I have to say that the real surprise has been the quality and the confidence with which the Italy midfielders have been playing."

"Largely [Thiago] Motta and [Claudio] Marchisio but more so Pirlo because he is the player who has a lot of the ball and every time he starts a move it's a move which will be dangerous for the opposition."

Capello also had words of praise for veteran attacker Antonio Di Natale, who netted Italy's opener against Spain.

"Di Natale played for 20 or 30 minutes [against Spain] but scored the goal and had a chance to score a second one. These are the type of players who, luckily for the coach, can be brought off the bench and are directly involved in the game. These are dangerous players."

Italy have two points from their first two games in Group C and will lock horns with the Republic of Ireland on Monday.