Italy boss Prandelli backs Spain to beat Croatia: We must not give into the culture of suspicion

The Azzurri will be eliminated if their two qualification rivals draw 2-2 or higher in Gdansk, but the Nazionale coach is confident that Vicente Del Bosque's men will prevail
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli believes that a victory over Republic of Ireland will be enough to see his side through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 because he is supremely confident that Spain will beat Croatia in the other Group C fixture.

The Azzurri will bow out of the tournament if their two qualification rivals draw 2-2 or higher in Gdansk, a scenario which has brought back many painful memories for the Nazionale, who were eliminated in that very manner in Portugal eight years ago.

Layla Anna-Lee presents our latest show, as James Goldman previews Friday's Group D matches
However, Prandelli is ignoring all of the talk of a potential fix, arguing that La Roja's legacy is at stake.

"We must not give in to the culture of suspicion," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday. "We are thinking only of beating Ireland, which is the main thing.

"I believe that Spain will win against Croatia. I do not think that they want to throw away 10 years of spectacular football.

"They will not do us any favours and we must not look for excuses, but we must continue to believe that we can qualify for the quarters."

After throwing away leads in both of their opening two fixtures at Euro 2012, against Vicente del Bosque's men and Croatia, it has been suggested that Italy should revert back to a 4-4-2 from the 3-5-2 that has been utilised.

It has also been claimed that there is a fitness issue, but while Prandelli admits that the side is in need of freshening up, he insists that their problems are mental, and not tactical or physical.

"I am not thinking about changing the formation because even the guys want a three-man defence," the former Fiorentina boss explained.

"I am, however, going to make three or four changes because we need a fresh team. My choices will depend not only on my own feelings, but also the medical exams.

"All of the players have told me that they're feeling good but [Saturday] we will have the last physical tests, which were already planned.

"But we just need to play football without thinking about the result. As long as we keep the ball, we are a real team, but if we start trying to defend the result, fear takes over.

"This is a mental question, not physical. The way forward for us has been highlighted by Juventus, by the way of proactive football."

Italy's clash with Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland will get under way at 20:45CET on June 18.