Soccer: Prandelli buzzing about World Cup campaign

'A lot more enthusiasm than before' says Italy coach

Soccer: Prandelli buzzing about World Cup campaign

(ANSA) - Sofia, September 7 - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said Friday he was enthusiastic about the Azzurri's World Cup campaign that kicks off in Bulgaria Friday. "I have a lot more enthusiasm than before," said the coach, who recently renewed his contract with the national team for two years, amid rumours he might want to return to the more hands-on field of club soccer, after Italy came second to Spain at Euro 2012. "Getting to the World Cup Finals is the dream of everyone, from the fans to the coaches". "This may be a transition period between the Euros and the future but I'm not living it with apprehension: I have a lot of interesting lads at my disposal". Prandelli is being tipped to field a new combination of Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco and AS Roma's Pablo Osvaldo up front against Bulgaria. The coach has to make changes in attack because he is without Manchester City's Mario Balotelli and Inter Milan's Antonio Cassano, the forwards he used most during the Azzurri's run to the final of Euro 2012. Balotelli is unavailable after having surgery on an eye problem and Cassano is not 100% fully match fit, although he did score in Inter's 3-1 defeat to Roma on Sunday before coming off early in the second half. Giovinco, who was part of Prandelli's Euro 2012 but hardly featured, scored twice in Juve's 4-1 drubbing of Udinese on Sunday to help maintain the Turin side's perfect start to the season. Argentine-born Osvaldo, who played twice for the Azzurri last season but failed to make the Euro 2012 squad, has also netted twice so far this term, including a delightful chipped effort in Roma's 3-1 victory over Inter last weekend. Defenders Federico Balzaretti and Davide Astori had to pull out of the squad with leg injuries, forcing Prandelli to call up Milan's uncapped centre back Francesco Acerbi. Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, however, is expected to be fit enough to play following a mild ankle sprain. The Azzurri face Malta in Modena on Tuesday in their second qualifier. The other Group B members are Denmark, Czech Republic and Armenia.

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