| KIEV, July 1
KIEV, July 1 Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was
generous in his praise of European champions Spain after their
4-0 victory in Sunday's final but was left ruing the lack of
preparation time his team had.
Spain's win makes them the first team to win two consecutive
European Championships with a World Cup sandwiched in between
and Prandelli said they deserve all the plaudits they will get
for that achievement.
"They made history and deservedly - they have a lot of
players who are tried and tested at this level and even though
they don't play with a classic striker they certainly cause you
plenty of problems," said the Italy coach who said his team had
simply struggled for fitness.
"We played against them in the group stage and I thought we
were excellent in that first game because we were 100 percent
fit," he said of the 1-1 draw three weeks ago.
"Against a team like Spain I think you really need to be
good in tackle and above all fit, they totally dominated this
evening and we have to congratulate a great side for their
Italy beat Germany on Thursday in their semi-final while
Spain had extra time to recover from their penalty shootout
victory over Portugal the previous day.
"I think we have had a terrific European championships, the
only regret is that we didn't have a few more days to rest up
before this game," added Prandelli.
Italy lost left-back Giorgio Chiellini in the 21st minute,
just seven minutes after falling behind to David Silva's opener.
Then, after switching Antonio Cassano for Antonio Di Natale
at the interval, and seeing Di Natale have two chances,
Prandelli took out midfielder Riccardo Montolivo for Thiago
Motta lasted just four minutes before he was carried off the
pitch on a stretcher leaving the Azzurri down to 10 men for the
final half hour.
"We came up against a terrific side, they are world
champions, but when you are down to 10 men, you can't carry on,
the game is over," Prandelli said.
"Perhaps we could have got back into the game at the start
of the second half, we had two chances but of course once Thiago
Motta went off injured, we didn't have anything left in the
(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Justin Palmer)