Italy boss Prandelli calls for calm: 'We take things too seriously'

The 54-year-old feels the Azzurri are bogged down the pressure they place upon themselves, but nonetheless has 'a good feeling' ahead of their opening Euro 2012 fixture
Cesare Prandelli believes Italy are hindered by the fact they take the game too seriously, arguing that they need to be more "joyful" in their approach, like Spain.

The Azzurri kick off their Euro 2012 campaign against the reigning world and European champions in Gdansk on Sunday evening and the former Fiorentina coach thinks his troops could learn a thing or two from Vicente Del Bosque's side.

"We still take it all too seriously on the pitch," Prandelli told reporters at his pre-game press conference. "The Spanish are more joyful; they are happy just to be playing football."

Italy's preparations have been overshadowed by the Scommessopoli scandal, while a resounding 3-0 defeat by Russia in their final warm-up fixture has significantly lowered expectation levels among the country's supporters.

However, Prandelli is confident that his team can upset the Spaniards: "I have a good feeling about this. We trained well and prepared for this match in the best possible way.

"The pessimism around us is not a problem, as, in fact, the team is more motivated to subvert it."

Italy's meeting with Spain, who knocked them out of Euro 2008 on penalties, is scheduled to kick off at 18:00CET.

Who do you think should be International's World Player of the Week this week? Leave your nomination in the comments section of THIS article between 10.00 every Sunday and 11.00CET every Monday. We will include some of the best suggestions in our winners piece.