World Cup: Attacking Azzurri

World Cup: Attacking Azzurri
Italy's national soccer team player Cassano smiles as he talks to teammate Barzagli during a training session at Coverciano training centre near Florence.

In Italy, catenaccio now feels almost like a dirty word.

Coach Cesare Prandelli has unshackled the Azzurri from the rigours of defensive football and given them a new lease of life.

A period of four years is a long time in football. Italy are about to find out if Prandelli's quiet revolution, since he was appointed coach in 2010, will reap the rewards they feel they richly deserve.

They came close two years ago, at the European Championship where they were eventually thwarted in the final by an all-conquering Spain who romped to 4-0 win to clinch their third major title in a row.

But the Italians have since narrowed the gap.

Last year, sticking to their guns, they put on yet another offensive display in the Confederations Cup semi-final clash with Spain.

The match ended 0-0, and had to be settled by a penalty shoot-out, which the Spaniards came through 7-6.

Three months ago, the Spain eked out a 1-0 victory in a friendly game.

But Prandelli's determination that attacking football is the way forward for Italy is clear.

The painful Euro 2012 final defeat has no bearing on how they are going to approach this World Cup, as Prandelli warned.

In his World Cup provisional squad, he picked a cluster of no less than seven forwards, which was subsequently trimmed down to five.

With players such as Mario Balotelli, Ciro Immobile and Antonio Cassano, some may argue that it will be silly to do it any other way.

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