Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

‘Windsor roar’ has Italy worried: Chiellini

Italy may face a tough match against Northern Ireland in tomorrow night’s a Euro 2012 qualifier, but at least one player already has one eye on Tuesday's clash with Serbia.

Giorgio Chiellini considers Serbia to be Italy's main rivals to finish top of Group C.

“I believe we will fight for the first spot with Serbia,” said the Juventus defender. “But I think the two games are equally difficult and very important for qualification to Euro 2012.

“We will have to be focused from start to finish.”

Northern Ireland started their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Slovenia in Maribor at the start of September.

They trail Group C leaders Italy by three points, but have a game in hand.

Northern Ireland have caused a few surprises at Windsor Park in the past five years, beating the likes of Spain and England.

“They are more dangerous when playing at home,” Chiellini added. “Northern Ireland seem to have another gear in front of their fans.”

Italy, who are coached by Cesare Prandelli, head into the encounter on the back of victories over Estonia and the Faroe Islands.

Chiellini knows a positive result on Friday would give the team a big boost in morale before Tuesday's qualifier in Genoa.

“Serbia have more quality than Northern Ireland,” said Chiellini. “It's going to be a very difficult game.

“We will have to go to the encounter in the best possible way.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk