sport

Prandelli critical of FIFA

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has claimed it was ‘madness’ that FIFA did not allow any breaks during his side’s 2-1 victory over England in Manaus.

Mario Balotelli's second-half header earned Italy an opening Group D victory over England after Claudio Marchisio's 35th minute effort had been cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge.

The second half saw several England players appear to suffer from cramp in the hot and humid conditions in the Amazonian city.

FIFA had decided against any breaks for the players and Prandelli questioned the decision not to grant the players some respite from the conditions.

"It was madness not to have time-outs in these conditions," Prandelli told RAI Sport.

"If they want a spectacle, they have to give the players the possibility to recover.

"It was impossible to maintain that level of intensity. The team suffered, but we maintained the supremacy in the middle of the field.

"We worked well in training and it showed, as midway through the second half England's players had cramp. It means our work paid off.

"Why do I have a good feeling? You have it when you see the players and you analyse what you have prepared.

"We worked a lot and in a good way. We will never be a team with big, sudden counter-attacks, but we have players with qualities and we must take advantage of this."

Match-winner Balotelli took the plaudits after heading home Antonio Candreva's cross, but Prandelli did not want to single out individuals after the game.

He added: "There was no individual performance to pick out, but that of the whole group."