Albertini link


Albertini, now vice-president of the Italian Football Federation, spent a year alongside Puyol at Camp Nou in 2005 and the Barcelona captain revealed that the pair have been in regular contact since Italy booked their last-eight place on Tuesday. "Over the last few days, since

we knew who our quarter-final opponents were going to be, I've been chatting a fair bit to Albertini because he's a good pal," the 30-year-old said. "It's been a mixture of discussing the game and joking about which of us is going out. Beyond trying my best to make sure it's us in the semi-final, I was happy to wish him good luck."
One of the major obstacles to Spain's hopes of progress will be Luca Toni, whom Puyol is likely to be given the responsibility of marking at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion. The FC Bayern M√ľnchen striker has not found the net in these finals but, having scored five times in six qualifying appearances, his threat is obvious. "He might not have scored in this tournament so far but there are plenty of goals in his boots," Puyol said. "Toni's team constantly look to feed him and you have to be attentive not just to stopping him scoring, but to where the second ball lands and to who is working off his knock-downs. It will be a physical battle, he's very strong but it will also be a case of paying total attention for over 90 minutes and offering no chances. Italy are a strong team and don't need to play well to win. We will have to be at our very best if we are to defeat them."
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