Italy host Luxembourg amid match-fixing scandal28/05/2012 - 17:00:54
Italy host Luxembourg in a Euro 2012 warm-up tomorrow in Parma with the country gripped by a new match-fixing scandal.
Police showed up at Italy’s training ground in Coverciano this morning to question Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito, who is under investigation for alleged match-fixing and sport fraud.
In mid-afternoon, the former Genoa star was among six players to be cut by Italy.
“These are things that we would not like to have had to go through,” Italy football federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini said. “You can understand the bitterness in the changing room.
“The players were shocked by what has happened. Criscito has received a lot of support from his national team-mates considering the terrible time he is going through.”
Albertini believes the latest scandal, which has seen former Italy international and current Lazio captain Stefano Mauri arrested today as part of the investigation, will not hinder the Azzurri.
Italy won the 2006 World Cup in Germany despite the huge distraction of a match-fixing scandal.
“I am not worried about the European Championship,” Albertini said. “I wasn’t before and I am not now. I already went through the one of 2006. I only hope that it brings good luck just as it did back then. We have a solid squad made of genuine people.
“I know the players will be able to manage situation as this one.”
Coach Cesare Prandelli, who will name his final Euro 2012 squad tomorrow, is set to hand AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano a place in the starting XI against Luxembourg at the Ennio Tardini stadium.
Cassano will lead Italy’s attack alongside Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli has returned to the squad after being left out of a friendly against the United States in February as punishment for a four-game suspension for violent conduct while on club duty.
Rivals Luxembourg travel to Italy looking to pick up where they left off in their 2-1 friendly triumph over FYR Macedonia back in February.
Elvesberg striker Maurice Deville, who struck twice in that game, will make his third appearance for his country.
Luc Holtz is set to hand midfielder Rene Peters his 87th cap to equal Carlo Weis’ record of most appearances for the national team.
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