Prandelli not out for Spain revenge, just quality

Cesare Prandelli said his Italy side had a point to prove when they face Spain in their Confederations Cup semi-final on Thursday.

He was however, not looking for revenge, after the 4-0 thrashing Spain gave Italy the last time they met in the final of Euro 2012 a year ago.

Asked if he was using revenge as motivation for his team, Prandelli told reporters: "No. Definitely not. I do not like the word vendetta or revenge.

"Our ambition is to display our quality, our quantity and our strength. Our objective is to give as good as we get. We want to play a balanced game and to win it."

Looking to improve on a poor second half performance when Italy lost 4-2 to Brazil in Salvador on Saturday, Italian goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon reiterated his coach's stance.

"I don't have any resentment against Spain so revenge is not our aim.

"When you play against a great team sometimes it is a pleasure to see them play and win... as long as you are not on the losing side.

"We want to keep the game as evenly balanced as possible which would mean we are improving since last year.

Prandelli did say he expected Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque to pull a surprise or two, with Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado still yet to prove their fitness.

"I think he will change a little something here or there. We will have to read those changes immediately. And if we do that, well, we will see what happens."


Italy's cause for victory has not been helped with a thigh injury bringing AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli's tournament to a premature end.

The 22-year-old has since left Brazil early and flown back for treatment in Italy, although his group stage performances showed how much of a critical element he is in Italy's attack.

Balotelli scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Mexico, converted a penalty in the 4-3 win over Japan and set up Emanuele Giaccherini's goal in the defeat by Brazil with a brilliantly executed flick.

Prandelli said experienced forward Alberto Gilardino would replace Balotelli on Thursday.

"He [Gilardino] is a hardworking player and one of the best attackers we have," he explained.

"I am really sorry Balotelli is not here. He brings great individual flair to the team, but this way, although we have lost him, we have gained another player who contributes to the team."

Widely criticised for what Buffon himself admitted "was definitely not my best game" against Brazil, the 131-game stalwart was quick to play down any suggestion he could be stepping aside.

"I don't think we should make a storm in a teacup out of it, we are all mature enough to know there is always another game," 35-year-old Buffon said.

"There are some great young goalkeepers in Italy and I am sure they will all get the chance to make a name for themselves and write their name in Italian and international history one day."

The winners will face hosts Brazil in the Confederations Cup final at the Maracana on Sunday while the losers will meet Uruguay in the third-place play-off in Salvador earlier on Sunday.