Soccer: Prandelli praises Italy's 'capacity to suffer'

Azzurri beat Japan 4-3 to qualify for Confederations Cup semis

Soccer: Prandelli praises Italy's 'capacity to suffer'

Recife, June 20 - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli praised his side's courage and "ability to suffer" after they beat Japan 4-3 in a thrilling see-saw match in the Brazilian city of Racife to qualify for the Confederations Cup semi-finals. But Prandelli also said he was worried about his side's physical condition, as they looked tired after Sunday's 2-1 win over Mexico and struggled with the Brazilian heat. The Azzurri started badly and were 2-0 down to a Japan side trained by Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni within 33 minutes. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi pulled a goal back with a header before half-time and Italy took the lead early in the second half with an own goal by Japan defender Atsuto Uchida and a Mario Balotelli penalty. Zaccheroni's side levelled with a Yasuhito Endo free kick but substitute Sebastian Giovinco touched in late in the match to ensure Italy go through to the last four regardless of what happens in next weekend's final group match against hosts Brazil. "It was a hard-fought match made up of lots of mini matches in which the players' physical condition influenced a great deal," Prandelli said. "Japan had an extra day's rest beforehand and that made a difference. "This tournament is wonderful but if they want to safeguard the quality of what's on show, they should give more time for the players to recover. "We were lucky. Japan played much better and in the first half hour we didn't know what to do. "But I'm happy with my players' temperament, their capacity to suffer, and, when the score was 3-3, their desire to go and try to find the opposition's goal. "We changed the formation we used many times and this game will be useful for us for the future".

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