PUMA SIGN UP TO 2018

Sportswear manufacturer Puma have now extended their deal with the Italian football Federation till the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The sportswear manufacturer recently signed a new contract that will also see them become the management head for the entire portfolio of the Italian football Federation, while they have also been granted a new designation as the "Official Master Licensee".

Puma will also continue to provide the FIGC's official kitwear for the most high profile team they have in their client list. Other clients for Puma at the international stage include the likes of South Africa, Uruguay – the Copa America champions, and Switzerland.

PRANDELLI BACKS CASSANO

Cesare Prandelli, the Italy National Football Team coach has come out in public support of Antonio Cassano, stating that he is one of those players that he is sure to take to the European Championships of 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Cassano, who is currently playing for Italian champions AC Milan has not had much game time this season and was criticized from various media about his credibility to play in the European Championships.

The 28 year old striker, who began his career at AS Roma before heading to Spain and play for the Spanish giants Real Madrid before heading home for the lack of playing time with Sampdoria, joined AC Milan in January 2011 but his time on the pitch with them has been very limited.

MORATTI DOING EVERYTHING HE CAN

Inter Milan have shown tremendous effort in trying to sign the deal with Manchester City for Carlos Tevez and they are doing anything possible to ensure that the deal is a success.

The President, Massimo Moratti has agreed that their interest in signing Carlos is growing day by day and they are keeping a track of all the daily updates that are taking place on the deal.

Their only other competitor who has a chance in this deal is AC Milan, with Carlos himself having been with the AC Milan boss quite a few times for lunch and dinner. Carlos has said he would be happier signing with AC Milan as well.

PJANIC AIMS FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Roma's attacking playmaker Miralem Pjanic has said that Champions League football is one of the main aims for Roma this season. After a few years of struggling in the Italian Serie A, Roma seem to be back where they belong. The presence of new owners has provided them with the necessary impetus both in terms of the moral and also in terms of the cash to take on the big teams like Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan.

Even though they had a poor start to the season, they have recovered since then. One of the main reasons for the poor start to the season has been the high level of a number of new players. One of them has been Miralem Pjanic.

Hamsik Set to Sign

Marek Hamsik will be putting millions of Napoli fan's minds at rest within the next week or so, when he signs a contract extension that will keep him at the club for the next 5 years.

Hamsik has been one of the key performers for the Azzurri over the past few years, and is one third of the 'devine triangle' of star men at the club - along with Cavani and Lavezzi.

Whenever the Slovakian is rested ahead of Champions League matches, the Partenopei struggle to find their attacking thrust, which just goes to prove exactly how important he is to the team. He is obviously also a firm favourite of the fans.

In spite of being linked to some of the biggest and oldest clubs in Europe, Hamsik will be staying at Napoli, according to club President De Laurentis.

Napoli riding high

It may well be that a close-run game against Inter that ended up with Napoli dropping out of the Coppa Italia, turns into one of the greatest pieces of luck for them all season.

There is no disgrace in losing to the champions of Italy and Europe on penalties, even if you would have expected Ezequiel Lavezzi to have buried his chance to put Napoli ahead in the shoot-out.

In truth, Maradona's heirs created the best chances, and should have won the game long before the final whistle of extra-time went, with Cavani and Hamsik both going close to sealing a famous victory for the Azzurri.

Anyone want to be the Star Striker?

With just days to go before the tournament kicks off, it's still too difficult to predict which strikers will play. Injuries and the formation Lippi chooses to play will obviously have an impact, but right now, none of the strikers seem to be doing much to push their cause.

Where England have at least one guaranteed starter in Wayne Rooney, Italy don't have anyone who stands head and shoulders above his competitors. All have their own merits, and all know that the role of star striker is up for grabs, IF they can put in the right performances.

Italy stumble...

It looks like Italy will be making their traditional slow start to the World Cup, though coach Marcello Lipi doesn't seem too concerned by their defeat to Mexico.

If I was looking for excuses, I could tell you all that it was only a friendly, that we started the game in a completely new formation (though we switched from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 after half-time), and that we were missing some key players.

However, the facts remain that we had a good number of the first-teamers playing (including Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Pirlo , De Rossi, Di Natale and Gilardino), and we were convincingly outplayed. Mexico dominated possession (with 65% of the ball), and created the better chances, without ever looking too shaky at the back.

News of the World Starts Us

And so to the very first post, and this is to give you all an example of the dross us Italy fans are up against over here in the 'Home of Football' TM.

I know I should have better things to do than read the News of the World, and I know they are probably trying to dress-down all Italy fans because we're generally better looking / more sophisticated than the average NOTW punter, but still...

NOTW ITALY REVIEW
THE defending champions could well be brought back down to earth with a nasty bump this summer. Let's hope so.

Oh.

If Italy should prevail again, maybe their anti-football style will be copied by more and more coaches.

Pages