The draw with defending champion Spain showed the world that the Italians are a threat to win the whole tournament for a few reasons.
The first, and most obvious reason is their defense.
The Italians have always been a team that liked to sit back, let teams attack them and wait for the opportune moment to unleash the force. This team is no different.
Even though Spain didn’t start any strikers in the game, Italy didn’t play as well as they would have liked defensively .
ESPN analyst Steve McManaman described it best when he called the Italian defense in this game as comfortable.
According to the Associated Press (per the Vancouver Sun), Italian coach Cesare Prandelli said:
The thing that really disappoints us is that we allowed them to equalize very quickly...We were playing the world champions and we should have made them work harder to get back into the game. We gave Spain the chance to score goals.
Still, expect the Italian side to prevent a weaker attacking Croatia team from getting close to the goal with a very stringent defense and excellent goalkeeping.
The second positive that came out of the draw with Spain is the confidence that the new Italian coach Prandelli showed.
It was also interesting that he put midfielder Daniele De Rossi in the back line to act as a sweeper.
This ambitious start to the tournament not only confused the Spanish, but showed that Prandelli isn’t afraid to take risks.
Another positive about the Italian coach is his tactical brilliance.
He made the right moves at the right times, especially when he brought in eventual goal scorer Antonio Di Natale for Mario Balotelli in the 57th minute.
He also brought in Sebastian Giovinco, who looked equally as sharp in the closing minutes.
Finally, the Italians are dealing with a lot of distractions that mostly come from a match fixing scandal back home.
Defender Domenico Criscito was removed from the Euro 2012 roster after being notified that he is under investigation for match fixing.
The last time the Azzurri was under these kind of investigations was in 2006 when they won the World Cup.
Don’t be surprised if it happens again.