Cassano deserves as much praise as Pirlo and co.

Italy should begin every tournament on the back-end of a domestic scandal. In 2006, it was the Calciopoli that gripped the nation and saw Serie A giants Juventus and AC Milan punished, along with Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina. However, it didn’t affect the national side, who went on to defeat France on penalties and lift the World Cup in Germany.

Now, six years later, at Euro 2012 the Azzuri approached the tournament with another match-fixing scandal affecting preparations for Italy. However, they have managed to not let the off-field antics affect them and, as a result, are now set to face Spain in the final of the competition on Sunday.

As expected, midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo is stealing the limelight in Poland and Ukraine as he continues to excel in the centre of the park. Alongside him, Daniele De Rossi is again living up to the billing, but one man who deserves as much praise as the duo is AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano.

The front-man has been excellent for the Azzuri alongside Mario Balotelli, made all the more impressive by the fact he underwent heart surgery earlier this year after suffering a stroke. He is deserving of the praise that has been thrown Italy’s way this tournament, with his movement and vision particular aspects to draw upon.