Euro: Prandelli mulls changes despite bright start

KRAKOW, Poland Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:37am EDT

Italy's national soccer coach Cesare Prandelli listens to reporter's question at a news conference during the Euro 2012 in Krakow June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Italy's national soccer coach Cesare Prandelli listens to reporter's question at a news conference during the Euro 2012 in Krakow June 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has ditched his famous purple puffer jacket for an elegant suit at Euro 2012 and he wants his side to be smarter too despite matching holders Spain in their Group C opener.

Sunday's 1-1 draw against Spain's diminutive short passers will be followed by a different test on Thursday against a confident Croatia side whose physicality up front in their 3-1 win over Ireland is prompting Prandelli to consider changes.

"Now I will look with great attention at Croatia and then we'll decide," he told reporters on Monday.

"I will most of all look at who is the calmest, the fittest. I will understand what player is ready for this important game, which is decisive for the group."

Tiny Antonio Di Natale scored the opener against the world champions minutes after coming on in place of Mario Balotelli but Prandelli may stick with the temperamental Manchester City striker given his height could trouble the Croat defense.

Asked about the strike duo of Balotelli and Antonio Cassano, the coach said: "I was happy with them for their attitude, I was happy with the distance they kept from the central midfielders yes, but in certain occasions we needed to be deeper (in the opposition half)."

He was very pleased with Emanuele Giaccherini's debut at left wing back and thought midfielder Daniele De Rossi did well as one of three centre backs but wants him to stride out of defense with the ball more.

"He had a great game but as I see football, when you have a midfielder playing there, he could make a particular difference," the former Fiorentina boss added.

Prandelli acknowledged that he may even change his three-man defense against Croatia but does not want another revolution.

"The idea is not to change too much but to give continuity," he said.

"In three days we will meet a completely different team (to Spain). They are unpredictable and can change from one half to the other. We have to be even more prepared."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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