Italy are more champagne than spaghetti, says Platini

The Frenchman has praised the Azzurri for their willingness to attack, and has been pleasantly surprised by Mario Balotelli's impact on Euro 2012
Uefa president Michel Platini has admitted that he has been enthused by Italy's performances at Euro 2012 due to Cesare Prandelli's side's attacking approach to the tournament.

The Azzurri negotiated a tricky group that also contained Italy and Croatia, before dominating England for 120 minutes and securing a penalty shoot-out victory to seal a place in the semi-finals.

When asked by Gazzetta dello Sport whether the Italy team was defined by corruption, catenaccio and spaghetti, the Frenchman was full of praise for the side, and for striker Mario Balotelli.

"[They're defined by] Champagne. Because Prandelli has changed their game. They're a team that plays well from the back, and going forward. They have great players," he told the paper.

"I was pleasantly surprised [by Balotelli]. He missed a few chances, but at least he has been creative, and done well for the team. I had never seen him live, and I loved him."

A key part of Italy's run to the last four has been Andrea Pirlo's form, and Platini conceded that the Juventus midfielder is a contender for the player of the tournament accolade.

"He's been very good, but we'll see after the final. Ballon d'Or? The road is very long," the supremo added.

One point of controversy in the lead up to Italy's semi-final with Germany has been that Die Mannschaft have enjoyed two extra days' rest since the last round.

However, the Euro 84 winner was quick to deny that the tournament's scheduling was not motivated by television coverage.

"We returned to the same scheduling as in 2004 to prevent Italy and Spain from meeting again," he maintained.

Finally, Platini spoke out about the use of technology in order to help referees make decisions, opining that it's an unfeasible scheme.

"I am opposed to technology. It was for goals, but at the beginning it was for offsides. Are we to have sensors all over the pitch?"

Germany and Italy kick off at 20:45CET on Thursday, with the winner setting up a meeting with Spain in Sunday's final.