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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 7, 2008

Buoyant Italy show they can entertain too

ZURICH, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Euro 2008 promises much if Italy and Portugal can reproduce the flowing football on display at the Azzurri's 3-1 friendly win on Wednesday.

Both goals were constantly under threat in an open game with Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo in superb form and Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma scoring and even outshining fellow wide man Cristiano Ronaldo with his skill.

Italy's usual pragmatism will likely return for June's championships in Austria and Switzerland, but even a measure of the excitement of Wednesday's game will light up the Euros.

'(Massimo) Ambrosini said to me he would carry on running, even if the match finished, because he was enjoying himself,' Italy coach Roberto Donadoni told reporters.

'That's the key to everything.'

The match between neutral teams in Zurich also gave Swiss authorities the chance for a dry run of procedures ahead of the tournament.

Italy were without Gianluigi Buffon, Gennaro Gattuso and Mauro Camoranesi through injury while Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero was again overlooked for the squad.

Yet the world champions managed a much more fluid display than some of the disjointed performances which characterised their Euro 2008 qualification.

Livorno goalkeeper Marco Amelia showed he is an able deputy for Buffon, full back Fabio Grosso put himself back in the picture and Genoa striker Marco Borriello made a decent debut.

Portugal excited going forward but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari knows his backline was at fault for Luca Toni and Fabio Quagliarella scoring from close range either side of Fabio Cannavaro deflecting in Pirlo's shot.

'Our squad is a bit younger. Italy showed all their experience, above all in the decisive moments of the match,' said the Brazilian, lamenting the fact Portugal have failed to beat Italy in 31 years.

Italy face France, the Netherlands and Romania in Euro 2008 Group C with Portugal playing Switzerland, Turkey and Czech Republic in Group A.