I Love Azzurri

Poll

How was Italy achievement at Euro 2012
 
Displaying items by tag: di natale
Thursday, 14 June 2012 06:49

Could Di Natale be Italy's Totò II?

It is a measure of how tough the UEFA European Championship is that defeat for Italy against Croatia tomorrow will almost certainly result in their elimination. It is almost impossible to imagine Spain not beating the Republic of Ireland, which means that Italy's trip to Poznan is a must-win encounter.

Coach Cesare Prandelli is right to be wary of Slaven Bilić's side, who boast two in-form strikers in Mario Mandžukić and Nikica Jelavić. Now he must decide whether to stick with the 3-5-2 that held out against Spain or revert to four at the back, with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini charged with nullifying the more potent aerial threat posed by Croatia's forwards.

The Azzurri may also go with a more defensive-minded left-back, Federico Balzaretti, to guard against raids down Croatia's right flank, where Darijo Srna and Ivan Rakitić were so lively against Giovanni Trapattoni's team. The problem is, as Prandelli said two days ago, they don't want to change too much. Switching formation again risks confusing the players, and removing a midfielder will both restrict the damage Andrea Pirlo can wreak, as he will have less protection, and increase the threat Luka Modrić will pose, as he will have more space to pick out his own killer pass.

The other choice the Italy coach must make is whether to persevere with Mario Balotelli up front. Forward Antonio Cassano explained the Manchester City FC player's miss against Spain thus: "When I saw him running towards [Iker] Casillas I thought, 'Now, he's going to pass to me'. He told me he wanted to but he wasn't expecting Sergio Ramos to catch up with him. I said, 'You tell that to the journalists. With the shot you've got you should have broken the net.'"

Meanwhile, Cassano described Italy's goalscorer against Spain, Di Natale, as "the sniper", saying: "Give him half a chance and he scores." So does Prandelli have the time to wait for Super Mario to come good or would the coach be best served entrusting with a starting berth a marksman who has scored 80 Serie A goals in the last three campaigns?

In 1990 Salvatore 'Totò' Schillaci came off the bench to rescue Italy with a winning goal against Austria at the FIFA World Cup, and went on to collect the Golden Boot. Twenty-two years on, is it time for Totò mark II?

Richard Aikman
www.uefa.com

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 21:52

Antonio Di Natale

Full Name : Antonio Di Natale
Date Of Birth: October 13, 1977
Place of Birth: Naples, Italy
Height: 170 cm
Position: Striker
Current Club: Udinese
National Debut: 2002
Caps:36 (10)

Antonio Di Natale (born October 13, 1977 in Naples) is an Italian football striker currently playing for Udinese. He likes to play just behind the main striker and is renowned for his pace, technique, passing and intelligence.

Club career

Born in Naples, Di Natale was brought up in the Empoli youth system and was sent on loan to smaller teams before becoming a protagonist in 1999 and ultimately a pariah in Euro 2008. He impressed many while playing for Empoli in Serie A and even received his first Azzurri call-up. He was awarded a contract extension. When Empoli was relegated he moved to Udinese.
After having joined Udinese in the 2004–05 Serie A season, Di Natale formed well together with Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Di Michele in attack, and the Friulian club finished 4th place at the end of the season and qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the following year. Di Natale finished his debut season with a record of 33 games and seven goals.
In the 2007-08 Season, Di Natale scored 17 goals. The two most beautiful goals both appeared at day 4, when Udinese play against Reggina. He made a zero-degree lob in 5' and a terrific volley in 63'. Forming a formidable attacking duo with Fabio Quagliarella, Di Natale improved his aggressiveness and stealth. In 2007, he was named captain of Udinese and his contract was extended to 30 June 2012.
On 9 May 2010, he has had perhaps his best season thus far in his career, scoring 2 goals against Bari in 3-3 draw match completed his 101 goals in his career and surpassed Oliver Bierhoff's club record with 28 goals in one campaign.

International career

He made his debut with the Italy national team on 20 November 2002, in a friendly match against Turkey. He won few caps in later years, scoring his first goal on 18 February 2004 against the Czech Republic.
In 2006 he regained a spot with the Azzurri under new coach Roberto Donadoni, and was involved in the Euro 2008 qualification campaign. He was then called up to UEFA Euro 2008, where he missed a crucial penalty during the quarter-final penalty shoot out against Spain who went on to win 4-2.
He missed the 2009 Confederations Cup because of a knee injury, which occurred on 28 March 2009 in an international match against Montenegro.
He took part at the 2010 World Cup where he was given the number 10 shirt. On 24 June 2010 he scored a goal in the 3–2 defeat against Slovakia which resulted Italy finishing bottom of its group.

Published in Squad

Antonio Di Natale has urged Cesare Prandelli to play him as a central striker for Italy ahead of Euro 2012.
The Udinese forward has made the provisional list for the Azzurri after a two-year hiatus from the national side and the veteran believes he would link up well with his country's fellow attackers.
“I think Mario Balotelli and I could do well alongside each other, while there is also [Antonio] Cassano who is a phenomenon. We can all prove our worth," he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Although Balotelli, Cassano and myself have never been used together, I think we can co-exist. We’re all here for Prandelli.
“Obviously I’d like to play as much as possible. My best position? I like to be used as a centre-forward now. I was better out wide when I was younger.
“I’ve done a lot with Udinese by winning the Capocannoniere and getting into Europe. Scoring 80 goals in two years seems to be a good achievement.”
The 34-year-old also believes he is now a stronger player compared to his last international appearance at World Cup 2010.
“I am back in the national team after two years in which this squad has taken shape and done well," he added.
“I’m at the disposal of the coach and I hope to do well. I have a lot of experience which may be of use. I’m a stronger player now than in the past and I want to give 100 per cent.
“I have no revenge on my mind. I’ll always just look to give my best for the national team.”
Di Natale concluded by talking about his future plans and despite scoring 23 league goals in the 2011-12 campaign, he revealed the end of his playing career could be near.
“There is a possibility that I may retire soon,” he stated. “I have a year left with Udinese, but we’ll just see what happens.
“To play you must to have that desire, but the decision won’t be based on what happens at Euro 2012.”

Published in News

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has affirmed that Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Antonio Di Natale are all likely to make his squad for Euro 2012, but ruled out call-ups for experienced attackers Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti.

The national team boss is expected to announce a provisional 30-man squad for this summer's tournament on Sunday, before eventually trimming his roster down to 23 players for the finals. And Prandelli has made it clear that there will not be any unexpected names.
"There will not be any surprises in the squad. Totti and Del Piero? Like I've said before, I'll only consider them in an emergency. I prefer to give younger players such as Roma's Fabio Borini a chance," Prandelli stated to Corriere della Sera.
"Cassano has shown that he loves the national shirt and he did all that he could to recover full fitness as soon as possible. He put pressure on the medics so that he could return to give us a helping hand.
"Balotelli can't afford to make any more mistakes, but I'm confident that he won't. We need to give players with talent an extra chance and there's no doubt that he's a special talent.
"I disagree with anyone who argues that Toto Di Natale doesn't deserve to be in the squad. He has scored almost 100 goals in three years and can be very helpful for us."
Italy are drawn with Spain, Republic of Ireland and Croatia in Group C at Euro 2012.

Published in News

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini believes that Antonio Di Natale deserves to be considered for selection for Euro 2012.
The Udinese striker is now 34 but remains the most prolific marksman in Serie A and, for that reason alone, Albertini feels Di Natale is a very viable option for Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad.

"Given what he has done and is continuing to do, he is definitely one of the eligible candidates [for a place in the squad]," the former AC Milan midfielder told RaiSport 1.
Of course, Di Natale's fellow forwards Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli are also hoping to travel to Poland and Ukraine.
Both players are considered difficult to handle but Albertini believes that they have been unfairly portrayed as troublemakers by the media.
"The have always behaved well with the national team," he argued. "However, sometimes people exaggerate when they are criticising their behaviour, even though they are great champions and just regular guys."
Turning his attention to this season's race for the Scudetto between Juventus and AC Milan, Albertini admitted that with the Bianconeri just one point clear of the Rossoneri at the summit of the standings, he finds it difficult to pick a winner with any great conviction.
"I cannot favour one side in particular," the former Azzurri star confessed. "Juventus have played well and are now fighting for the title.
"AC Milan have more quality and despite having suffered several injuries, they are, to their credit, still there."
Albertini, who was capped 79 times by the Azzurri, spent 14 years at San Siro before enjoying spells at Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Atalanta and Barcelona.

Published in News

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini believes that Antonio Di Natale deserves to be considered for selection for Euro 2012.
The Udinese striker is now 34 but remains the most prolific marksman in Serie A and, for that reason alone, Albertini feels Di Natale is a very viable option for Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad.

"Given what he has done and is continuing to do, he is definitely one of the eligible candidates [for a place in the squad]," the former AC Milan midfielder told RaiSport 1.
Of course, Di Natale's fellow forwards Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli are also hoping to travel to Poland and Ukraine.
Both players are considered difficult to handle but Albertini believes that they have been unfairly portrayed as troublemakers by the media.
"The have always behaved well with the national team," he argued. "However, sometimes people exaggerate when they are criticising their behaviour, even though they are great champions and just regular guys."
Turning his attention to this season's race for the Scudetto between Juventus and AC Milan, Albertini admitted that with the Bianconeri just one point clear of the Rossoneri at the summit of the standings, he finds it difficult to pick a winner with any great conviction.
"I cannot favour one side in particular," the former Azzurri star confessed. "Juventus have played well and are now fighting for the title.
"AC Milan have more quality and despite having suffered several injuries, they are, to their credit, still there."
Albertini, who was capped 79 times by the Azzurri, spent 14 years at San Siro before enjoying spells at Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Atalanta and Barcelona.

www.goal.com

Published in Articles