News / Europe

Schillaci Touts Immobile as Italy's Surprise World Cup Hero

Italy's Ciro Immobile (R) fights for the ball with Fluminense's Jean during a friendly soccer match ahead of the 2014 World Cup at the Cidadania stadium in Volta Redonda, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, June 8, 2014.
Italy's Ciro Immobile (R) fights for the ball with Fluminense's Jean during a friendly soccer match ahead of the 2014 World Cup at the Cidadania stadium in Volta Redonda, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, June 8, 2014.
Reuters
Former Golden Boot winner Salvatore “Toto” Schillaci has tipped Italy striker Ciro Immobile to emulate his heroics and be the surprise star of the World Cup in Brazil.

Schillaci came from nowhere to score six goals for Italy in the 1990 World Cup, and the former Juventus and Inter Milan striker can see the similarities between himself and Immobile, who scored a hat-trick in the Azzurri's 5-3 win over Brazilian club side Fluminense on Sunday.

“There are the right conditions for Immobile to be [coach Cesare] Prandelli's trump card. He has played and scored a lot this season, he is in excellent shape and has great enthusiasm just as I had in 1990,” Schillaci, 49, told the Corriere dello Sport.

“He is fast, sees the goal like few others and he does not have the spotlight on him.”

Italy begins its Group D campaign against England in Manaus on Saturday, and there is a growing desire in Italy for the exciting Immobile to feature in the starting line-up even though Prandelli prefers AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

Immobile was in prolific form in Serie A last season, scoring 22 goals for Torino, who finished seventh in the league before obtaining a Europa League berth after sixth-placed Parma were denied a UEFA license for financial irregularities.

The 24-year-old's form led to a big money move to German giants Borussia Dortmund, who will no doubt view the reported $15.6 million transfer fee as a bargain should he shine at the World Cup like Schillaci did.

Prandelli opened the door to Immobile by comparing him with Schillaci, but then went on to insist that playing two up front was not the right fit for a team with as many quality midfielders as Italy have.

“I made a comparison with Schillaci because in 1990, he was considered by everyone as the fifth striker but he went on to become [the] top scorer,” Prandelli said on Monday. “That shows that you need to prepare mentally for every chance you have.”

Prandelli prefers Balotelli as his starting center-forward, but he said he also is open to experiment with players and formations during matches, meaning there still was space for Immobile to make an impression.

“Could he start in place of Balotelli? There are only a few players in the team with guaranteed starting places, such as [Andrea] Pirlo and [Gianluigi] Buffon,” added Schillaci. “Immobile needs to keep his feet on the ground and not get too excited, but despite having little international experience he can certainly make an impression.”

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid