/ Euro 2012

Daniele De Rossi set for defensive role

Updated: Friday, 08 Jun 2012 19:22

Daniele de Rossi expects to play in defence against Spain
Daniele de Rossi expects to play in defence against Spain

Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi has revealed he will play in defence against Spain in Sunday's Euro 2012 Group C opener.

De Rossi is set to take the place of injured defender Andrea Barzagli and play alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in Italy's back line.

Barzagli is sidelined for the group stages with a calf injury.

"I have always adapted tactically," De Rossi said. "I think it is right to do so.

"The fascination of the European Championship is second to the World Cup and if you want to have a starring role, you need to adapt.

"There is a 99% chance that I will play in defence but to say that my role will be of central defender is not exactly right as I will act as a link between the defence and the midfield."

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli considered making tactical changes after his team's sub-par display in last week's 3-0 defeat to Russia in a friendly.
 

Italy - Last 5 Matches (as of 8th Jun 2012)
1st Jun 2012 Friendlies Russia 3 - 0 Italy Letzigrund Stadion
29th Feb 2012 Friendlies Italy 0 - 1 USA Stadio Luigi Ferraris
15th Nov 2011 Venskabskampe Italy 0 - 1 Uruguay Stadio Olimpico, Rome
11th Nov 2011 Venskabskampe Poland 0 - 2 Italy Stadion Sportowy KSZO
11th Oct 2011 EURO qualification grp. C Italy 3 - 0 N.Ireland Stadio Adriatico


De Rossi is aware of the task that awaits his team, who take on the tournament holders and World champions to start their Euro adventure.

"We will play against the best in the world and it will be tough," the Roma midfielder said. "I enjoy watching Spain play.

"They have a midfield line never seen before in the history of football with extraordinary talent with Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, and (Sergio) Busquets.

"Spain are the strongest of all the teams but in a tournament like as brief as this one, you can beat them."

De Rossi, who was a member of Italy's World Cup winning squad in 2006 in Germany, admits the Azzurri could have done without the latest match-fixing scandal to hit the nation.

Prandelli was forced to drop Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito from the squad last week as he is under investigation.

"There has been a lot of talk in the last month but all will be forgotten," De Rossi said. "A month before we won the World Cup in Germany there was a similar atmosphere as there is now.

"It is slightly annoying because whenever the national team is mentioned the issue of the match-fixing and betting scandal follows.

"But none of us that are here are involved in this.

"It is not as if all our football is dirty as it may appear."

Italy have confirmed injured Andrea Barzagli will remain with the team for the tournament despite the defender being sidelined with a calf injury he suffered in last week's 3-0 friendly defeat by Russia.

The Juventus defender has already been ruled out of Sundays Group C opener against Spain and for the game against Croatia four days later.

However, the Azzurri are hoping to have the experienced defender back in time for the encounter against the Republic of Ireland on 18 June.

"Barzagli underwent tests today, including an MRI and there is evidence of an improvement in his condition," Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci told www.figc.it.

"Hence, the coach has decided to keep the player with us.

"Our aim is to have him back for our third game."

Prandelli had called up Cagliari defender Davide Astori as a possible replacement for Barzagli.

Astori trained with the squad yesterday.

"Astori will remain with us at least until tomorrow seeing as we can replace a player 24 hours before the start of our game against Spain."

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