Antonio Cassano has faith in Italy winning Euro 2012 final
The AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano also confessed that he had to overcome a ton of hardships in order to prove himself worth of playing in Cesare Prandelli’s squad. Antonio Cassano suffered a stroke due to an abnormality in his heart last year.
Antonio Cassano told reporters that he fought tooth and nail to prove his worthiness of playing under an Azzurri jersey and he is happy to do it again. The Italy international also admitted that playing in the Euro 2012 final at Kiev tonight would be the highlight of his career.
“Reaching this final will mark the most important point in my career,” Antonio Cassano said. “I never thought it would happen. I am just grateful to be here. I never lose sight of how lucky I am. It has been a long battle back to fitness but I never expected this. It was really just a distant dream.”
After an abysmal performance at the 2010 World Cup, Italy was expected to make a strong comeback in Euro 2012. Well, they managed to do that but not without stirring controversy (apart from what Mario Balotelli comes up with every now and then).
Just a week before Euro 2012 began, Italy was became involved match-fixing scandal which resulted in the omission of defender Domenico Criscito from Italy’s squad. Antonio Cassano believes these controversial scenarios are playing favor to Italy’s campaign for glory.
“The sad thing is we are making headlines for all the wrong reasons because of these match-fixing allegations,” Antonio Cassano said. “But this is the perfect opportunity to make them for the right reasons, to show the world Italy can also make headlines for sporting success rather than scandal.
“Naturally, it has had an impact on the team because we are normal people. But, in a way, it has given us a greater incentive to do well and make Italian people proud. We are under no illusions we face a difficult match against Spain. In the group phase there was nothing between the two teams in a 1-1 draw. But now the circumstances are completely different. It's all or nothing.”
Antonio Cassano reckons his team should concentrate on drawing first blood against Spain tonight.
“I think the first goal will be decisive,” Antonio Cassano suggested. “If we can open the scoring, I'm convinced we will be champions. In Andrea Pirlo, we have the only candidate for Player of the Tournament if Italy win. He plays like a juvenile, full of strength and quality.
“Yet it would be unfair on the other players to say that Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Balotelli have carried us to this point. We fight as a team, win as a team and, if it happens, we will lose as a team. I know many of the Spanish players well and they take great success and experience into the final. There will be nerves and there will be tears. But, for Italy, I hope they are tears of joy.”